ConsumerTalk with Wendy Knowler

Freedom Bakery faces heat over food fraud allegations

Cape Town-based Freedom Bakery has been accused of food fraud and false labeling on their products.

It's alleged that the bakery is passing of its products as ‘sugar-free’ and ‘gluten-free’ - when in fact they are not.

Read: You're probably reading expiry dates wrong (and wasting food in the process)

Consumer journalist Wendy Knowler has been investigating these claims and explains that the food fraud has ethical, legal and health implications.

In 2015, the Earth Fair Market removed Freedom Bakery as a trader at their market after her products tested positive for high levels of gluten and sucrose.

The City of Cape Town's health directorate also received a complaint last year alleging that the bakery's wheat products were bought from another bakery and relabeled.

Allergen specialist Dr Harris Steinman independently tested several of Freedom Bakery's products at the Food and Allergy and Consulting Services (FACTS) laboratory in September.

Also read: Why consumers need to wake up to plastic waste (and start recycling)

At least four separate tests at FACTS found that the Freedom Bakery's products contained high levels of gluten and wheat in a number of products, including their Banting bread.

They have consistently contained levels of gluten and wheat that is consistent with a normal wheat roll.

Dr Harris Steinman, owner of FACTS (Food and Allergy and Consulting Services laboratory)

Meanwhile, Freedom Bakery owner Natasha Mandiringa says the business uses "alternative flour" and "alternative sweeteners" in the baking process.

She says she did conduct the full audit of her bakery's products. She supplied the City of Cape Town with samples for testing. She adds that for a small home-based business, testing is expensive and the City has said they would do it free of charge.

They came into my shop and they took all my products....and they were signed and sealed.

Natasha Mandiringa, Freedom Bakery

She says she is waiting for the results.

But 11 months later and no results yet says Knowler.

Take a listen to the consumer debate:

Got a consumer case you need help resolving?

Email: consumer@knowler.co.za, put Cape Talk in the subject line, followed by the issue e.g. cellphone contract dispute.

CapeTalk welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the CapeTalk community a safe and welcoming space for all.

CapeTalk reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

CapeTalk is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
Planning to send/receive Christmas gifts from overseas? You'll want to read this

Planning to send/receive Christmas gifts from overseas? You'll want to read this

Consumer journalist Wendy Knowler helps shed light on the rights of consumers when dealing with postal services for Xmas prezzies.

At own risk! What you need to know before signing that disclaimer

At own risk! What you need to know before signing that disclaimer

Consumer guru Wendy Knowler and attorney Trudie Broekmann explore how consumers can protect themselves against unfair indemnities.

Capetonians piece together breadcrumbs, tell story of iconic Wrensch Town Bakery

Capetonians piece together breadcrumbs, tell story of iconic Wrensch Town Bakery

A query about a classic biscuit treat led to a fortuitous series of calls linking the bakery to the first heart transplant donor.

Broadening the taste of Khayelitsha's spinach revolution

Broadening the taste of Khayelitsha's spinach revolution

Espinaca Innovations founder Lufefe Nomjana describes how he has grown his bakery business which produces goods made from spinach.

A new generation of baker is taking over in Soweto

A new generation of baker is taking over in Soweto

How a resourceful young man started a bakery to provide his community with quality bread at a very low price.

Famous Brands to bring famous French bakery-café chain PAUL to South Africa

Famous Brands to bring famous French bakery-café chain PAUL to South Africa

Famous Brands will become global brand PAUL’s South African Licensed Partner for 10 years.

Popular articles
Meet Whitey Basson (the retail guru who turned Shoprite into a R127bn behemoth)

Meet Whitey Basson (the retail guru who turned Shoprite into a R127bn behemoth)

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews the former CEO of Africa’s largest retailer by far.

CT airport shooting attempted hit on gang boss allegedly linked to '28s' -expert

CT airport shooting attempted hit on gang boss allegedly linked to '28s' -expert

A policing expert explains that the airport shooting may be linked to the shooting at a Stellenbosch nightclub this past weekend.

Almost 30 million SA ID numbers compromised after site hacked

Almost 30 million SA ID numbers compromised after site hacked

Independent Marketing Consultant in the Technology Space, Andrew Fraser says this looks like a leak and not a hack.

Cape Town International Airport shooting could be gang related - ACSA

Cape Town International Airport shooting could be gang related - ACSA

The incident happened in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Kloof Street residents living in fear as crime multiplies

Kloof Street residents living in fear as crime multiplies

A Cape Town man was stabbed to death on Saturday while trying to assist two women who were being mugged on Kloof street.