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  • Jefferson Adams

    Are Chefs Finally Coming Around on Gluten-free Issues?

    Jefferson Adams
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    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 05/07/2015 - Are chefs are improving their awareness of gluten-related disorders? That's one of the questions addressed in a new 10-year follow-up study in the UK.

    Photo: CC--Charles HaynesThe study was conducted by a team of researchers headed by I. Aziz of the Department of Gastroenterology in Royal Hallamshire Hospital at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals in Sheffield, UK. The team also included M.A. Karajeh, J. Zilkha, E. Tubman, C. Fowles, and D.S. Sanders.



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    The team set out to measure any changes in awareness of gluten-related disorders among the general public, and among chefs. To do so, they compared results from face-to-face questionnaires on celiac disease and gluten sensitivity on the general public and chefs based in Sheffield, UK. The survey was conducted in 2003, and repeated in 2013. They compared the results from the 265 chefs in 2013 against results from the 322 chefs in 2003.

    Whereas in 2003 the public were significantly more aware of gluten-related disorders than chefs, by 2013, rates of awareness in the groups were about equal. The 2003 group was 85% male, with a mean age 37.6 years old. The second group was younger at 27.1 years, on average, and more evenly mixed, with 38% women.

    Overall, the results showed a significant increase in chefs' awareness of gluten-related disorders from the years 2003 to 2013. Awareness of celiac disease had risen from a dismal 17.1% in 2003 to a respectable 78.1% in 2013 (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) of 12.5; 95% CI 7.9-19.6). For Gluten Sensitivity, awareness had climbed from a mere 9.3% in 2003 to 87.5% in 2013 (AOR 65.7; 95% CI 35.4-122; P<0.001).

    The survey also showed that 44% of the public and 40% of chefs (P=0.28) properly recognized the official gluten-free symbol.

    There has been a marked increase in both the public's and chefs' awareness of gluten-related disorders. Hopefully, this awareness will translate into better, safer gluten free offerings for people with celiac disease and gluten-sensitivity.

    Find further reading, including hard numbers from the survey, in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

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    Good Chefs may be more aware, however don't think most restaurant cooks take gluten free seriously. I have been glutened twice in a month by being served the wrong food which I could not detect until too late. I have celiac disease and state so when ordering.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,500 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.


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