TV chef calls on restaurants for more gluten-free mealsCoeliac Awareness Week
TV chef Phil Vickery is calling on chefs across the country to provide more gluten-free options on their menus so that people with coeliac disease can enjoy eating out like the rest of us.
A survey of more than 3,000 people with coeliac disease for charity Coeliac UK conducted in 2008 found that nearly one third of respondents said they never ate out, or that they ate out less than once every other month.
Nearly a quarter had travelled for an hour or longer in order to find a restaurant that provided a gluten-free meal.
However, 30 per cent of those surveyed said they would eat out once a week if they could be confident of a safe gluten-free menu option.
Chef Phil Vickery, who is a Coeliac UK Food Ambassador, said: "Currently, eating out is a lottery for people with coeliac disease.
"People with coeliac disease do not have the luxury of choice or availability on their doorstep and the idea of having to travel over an hour just to find somewhere safe to eat is unthinkable for most people.
"I’m passionate about improving understanding in the food industry on the need for more gluten-free cooking as more and more people are diagnosed."
In the UK, an estimated 600,000 people have coeliac disease - an autoimmune disease caused by intolerance to gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat (including spelt), rye and barley. Some people are also sensitive to oats.
Damage to the gut lining occurs every time gluten is eaten. As there is no cure or medication for the condition - the only treatment is a strict gluten-free diet for life.
Without keeping a gluten-free diet, coeliac disease can lead to other conditions, such as malnutrition, infertility, multiple miscarriages, osteoporosis and bowel cancer.
Sarah Sleet, Chief Executive of Coeliac UK, said: "People with coeliac disease want to eat out more often and are ready and willing to spend their money, if only they felt more confident about gluten-free provision."
Coeliac UK is running an Awareness Campaign from 10/16 May 2010 to promote understanding about coeliac disease and for the need for increased gluten-free provision in the hospitality industry.
This article was published on Mon 10 May 2010
Image © Phil Vickery
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