Last updated July 16, 2018 at 5:21 pm
Undercover Victorian study puts claims to the test.
Potentially harmful levels of gluten have been detected in foods sold and served as “gluten-free” across Melbourne.
A team from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and the City of Melbourne secretly tested 158 items from 127 food businesses and found one in 11 was contaminated with gluten at levels that could prove harmful to people with coeliac disease.
“Previous evidence was only anecdotal with patients reporting getting sick after eating out,” said Dr Jason Tye-Din, who leads coeliac disease research at the Institute and is a gastroenterologist at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
“Our research not only validates these concerns, it also examines why gluten contamination might occur.”
Tye-Din said gluten contamination was a serious health-risk. “For people with coeliac disease a strict gluten-free diet is their treatment, not a lifestyle choice,” he said. “Small amounts of gluten – even just a few crumbs – can be harmful over time and lead to issues such as osteoporosis or impaired growth.”
Coeliac Australia has developed a suite of resources to help food businesses prepare gluten-free options that comply with national food regulations. These include a gluten-free online training module offering practical solutions for busy kitchens.
“Gluten-free remains one of the top dietary requests and we urge all food businesses to treat gluten-free requests seriously,” said President Michael Bell.
Coeliac Australia’s Gluten Free Standard for the Australian Food Service Sector outlines best practice for the safe sourcing, preparation and service of gluten free foods.
The paper published in the Medical Journal of Australia.