Firstly, don’t panic. With the help of this guide, and the tutorial slides in the app itself, I promise you’ll know exactly how to use the Coeliac UK App in no time at all!!
I did panic and as a result, I didn’t use it for the first 2 years of diagnosis because I thought if I had it set up wrong or read its results wrong, I could accidentally gluten myself. Big mistake.
It’s actually very easy and if you learn this once & you’ve got a lifeline forever. Especially to help with Barley Malt Vinegar & Extract (more on that at the bottom!)… we all know complicated that can feel!!
How to Set it Up
(1) Load the app. Its called “Gluten free Food Checker” – its the first one that comes up if you search for Coeliac UK.
(2) Once the app is open, click the 3 little lines in the top left corner to open the menu bar (you can see them in the pics below).
(3) Click on “Allergen Profile” and you’ll get this:
(4) Coeliac? You need to do two things:
- Click on “Gluten-free Diet” in the first pic. Click “OK” on the pop up. Tick everything like the first pic below (so they all go blue)
- Go back to the “Allergen Profile”. Click on “May Contain Cereals”. Click “Ok” on the pop-up. Tick everything again so it looks like the second pic (they’ll all go blue too).
Gluten Intolerant? If you don’t need to worry about “may contains”, just follow the first step above. You can skip the “may contain cereals” bit!
(5) Have you got a totally seperate barley/oats/wheat allergy?
>>Only use this section if you have a SEPARATE allergy to gluten free barley/oats/wheat
- By this, I mean you’re allergic to either barley/oats/wheat regardless of whether they have been made gluten free and are coeliac safe.
- For example, gluten free beer is often made from gluten free barley. This would be suitable for coeliacs, but not suitable if you have a separate barley allergy. If you tick the barley box, the app will tell you the gluten free beer is not suitable for you and you’ll be missing out on suitable products.
- Go back to “Allergen Profile”.
- Click on “Extra Gluten Options” – the one below “Gluten Free Diet”. Tick whichever is appropriate.
- This example shows what it would look like if you have an allergy to oats.
(6). If you have other allergies/intolerances too e.g. milk, you can tick these in your Allergen Profile too.
Reading the Results
A. Scan the Barcode – *easiest way*
Click this button & hold your camera over the product barcode. It will automatically search the database for you. Outcomes:
- Suitable: happy face
- Not suitable: sad face
- Not on the database: “sorry, no product information is available at this time”
B. Use the Search Bar
Type in the search bar and you’ll get one of the following outcomes:
- Suitable: happy face
- Not suitable: it will either say “no suitable products found” or return loads of other products that you’re not looking for!
- Not on the database: sadly, it’ll bring up the same result as the above
Search tip: Sometimes, I’ve searched for something simple and had 100’s of results returned to me. The best way to avoid this is to use the search subcategories narrow it down & find the product you’re looking for much quicker.
My hack: I find it bit annoying that “not suitable” doesn’t show a different outcome to “not on the database” because you can’t tell which one it is!! (Coeliac UK are working on improving this). If, like me, you want to know for sure if its just not on the database, the only way to tell is to do the following:
- Remove all of your allergen profile preferences and search again.
- If its there now & has a happy face beside it, then it is on the database but NOT suitable.
- If it still says “no suitable products found”, it just means Coeliac UK haven’t added the info for that product yet. Don’t forget to change your settings back!!!!
My 3 Big Reasons for Using the App
1. Barley Malt…
“Barley Malt Extract” is sometimes suitable for Coeliacs. I think the app is easiest way to find out whether the specific food you’re looking at is safe or not. You can read more about this here.
2. There’s more than label reading!
Did you know there’s also a “Ready-made Lists” sections.
For example, for Easter 2019 there was a complete list of 2019 items that have been checked by Coeliac UK and are safe! How good is that?! Theres lists of 99 GF baked beans products, 101 GF gravy & stocks, beers and largers, the lot.
3. It’s so good, its won awards!!
Coeliac UK recently won the 2019 MemCom Membership Excellence award in the best use of an app category for this Gluten Free Food Checker app.
It is exclusive to members of the charity and is part of the membership package. Go to https://www.coeliac.org.uk/join-us/ to find out more and how to sign up.
Would definitely recommend checking it out.
*This blog post is just my understanding of the app (with a few phone calls to Coeliac UK to make sure I’m doing it right… they’ve even very kindly read through this before I published it… how amazing is that!!).*
*If you’re unsure about anything, give them a call on their helpline Tel 0333 332 2033 or email them at: email@example.com*