COFFEE lovers have been issued an urgent warning about some of Costa’s most popular products.
The chain launched a new menu for January 2022 with some delicious sounding additions – but some come with a major health risk.
Among the fresh items are several new coffees and hot chocolates – all available with cow’s milk or dairy-free alternatives.
And while Costa continues to offer these for those allergic, intolerant or vegan, a change in supplier means they are not suitable for everyone.
The menu used to list oat, soya and coconut milk from the brand Alpro, but Costa now uses only AdeZ options – which all “may contain wheat”.
Anyone allergic to the ingredient is urged to avoid ordering, as well as those with coeliac disease who follow a gluten free diet.
This is likely because the products are all made on the same premises so manufacturers cannot guarantee they are free from shared ingredients.
Signs are reportedly up in stores notifying coffee drinkers of the change, and the allergen information has also been updated online.
But many customers might miss the “announcement” and risk an allergic reaction, health problems or anaphylaxis, which could be fatal.
A Costa Coffee spokesperson said: “As part of our new January menu we have changed supplier of dairy alternative products.
“Consumers can still enjoy the full range of dairy alternative flavours they’ve come to expect at Costa, including oat, soya, almond and coconut.
“We have updated our Nutrition and Allergy Guide to reflect these changes and whilst the new oat flavour does not contain wheat, we have included ‘may contain’ information aligned to the suppliers risk assessment.
“Updated information can be found in store or online and we’ve a new counter top card in stores notifying consumers of the change.”
The update was met with fury from Costa lovers, some of whom described the change as “awful”.
Becky Excell, who runs a gluten-free blog and shared the news with her followers, said: “This is super important as most would automatically assume that at least soy and coconut milk would be gluten-free.
“To say I am disappointed would be an understatement!”
She urged anyone who cannot consume wheat for whatever reason to steer clear.
Charity Coeliac UK also advised anyone to avoid the new non-dairy milks.
A spokesperson said: “In a recent social media poll 96 per cent of Coeliac UK’s gluten free community say that they struggle to find reliable gluten free options when they’re on-the-go, so we were very disappointed to hear that Costa have reduced choice even further by switching to oat, soya and coconut milk products which may contain gluten.
“We hope that Costa is able to reconsider their range in the future to make it more inclusive for the almost million people in the UK who have to live without gluten as a medical necessity, and the many more who avoid gluten for other reasons.
“We are investigating further and will share any updates with our community but in the meantime we would advise anyone on a gluten free diet to avoid the new non-dairy milks, and check with individual coffee shops about potential cross contamination risk when ordering.”
A new law came into force earlier this year to help keep people with allergies and coeliac disease safe.
Pre-packaged food must now feature a full ingredients label – highlighting the 14 major allergens.
Called Natasha’s Law, it is named after a teenage girl who tragically died after suffering an allergic reaction.
She had eaten a sandwich, not knowing it had an ingredient in she was allergic to, as at the time it was not a requirement for businesses.
Around ten people in the UK die every year from food-induced anaphylaxis.
What are the 14 major allergens?
- cereals containing gluten – including wheat (such as spelt and Khorasan), rye, barley and oats
- crustaceans – such as prawns, crabs and lobsters
- molluscs – such as mussels and oysters
- tree nuts – including almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios and macadamia nuts
- sesame seeds
- sulphur dioxide and sulphites (if they are at a concentration of more than ten parts per million)