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    What's the World's Most Celiac-Friendly Travel Destination?


    Jefferson Adams

    Celiac.com 03/15/2013 - The website GlutenFreeTravelSite.com has named Pennsylvania as the most celiac-friendly destination in the world.


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    Photo: CC--paulhamiEach year, the site chooses winners based on the highest number of positive reviews received over the previous twelve months. Previous winners include New York, Florida, Washington D.C. and California.

    According to the travel site, Pennsylvania won this year “due in large part to the many, many Philadelphia-area restaurants that have undergone training through the GREAT Kitchens program run by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness [NFCA]."

    Through its GREAT Kitchens program, the NFCA focuses on training restaurants in safely preparing gluten-free meals. It also offers training for chefs and food-service managers on safely handling gluten-free food.

    According to their website, glutenfreetravel.com offers resources, tips and other information devoted to helping people with celiac disease to travel freely, without being inhibited by their celiac disease. The company has its headquarters in Pennsylvania.

    Click here to see which Pennsylvania eating establishments got the best feedback on GlutenFreeTravelSite.

    Also, what do you think of their choice? Do you travel or live in Pennsylvania? Do you find it to be a good place for people with celiac disease to eat out safely? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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    Guest Emily

    Posted

    This does not feel accurate to me, but rather a reflection of NFCA's robust marketing.

    Last I was aware, the GREAT program does educate restaurants about how to provide gluten-free food, but, unlike GFRAP's restaurant certification, does not require the most stringent protocols, like a dedicated gluten-free prep area with dedicated kitchen utensils. I would love to hear otherwise, if this is incorrect, though.

     

    The biggest concentration of GFRAP restaurants is in NYC, and I have always felt more comfortable eating in that city than I have in Philadelphia.

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    Guest Karen Broussard

    Posted

    Thanks for covering the results of our contest. One minor correction.. .we aren't based in Pennsylvania. However, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness is, and they do a lot of outreach and training to restaurants in Pennsylvania, particularly in the Philadelphia area.

     

    In addition to offering tips for people traveling with Celiac, I wanted to mention that our website, GlutenFreeTravelSite, also has thousands of user-submitted gluten-free dining and travel reviews, searchable by location. You can search reviews of restaurants, bakeries, markets, hotels, resorts, cruises -- and even colleges -- by state/country or more narrowly by town/zip code.

     

    Keep up the great coverage, Celiac.com!

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    I have to say that as all the 'best in the world' are in the US, it should be 'best in the US'. I have found eating gluten-free in Peru, India and Spain was much easier than in most US cities - as their cuisines don't rely much on gluten products. In Spain, I found the most amazing gluten-free croissants, and the care the wait staff in many restaurants took to ensure what I ordered was gluten free was very impressive. Much of Peruvian food is potato based, and Indian cuisine does not use flour except for the breads. I'm finding that San Diego has an increasingly large number of restaurants with gluten-free menus too - Sammy's Pizza chain, all the Cohn restaurants and many single location, locally owned places 'get it' really well.

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    Guest Barbara

    Posted

    PA may have shown up high in your survey, but in my experience it is hardly "best in the world." Once outside of metropolitan areas, celiac-awareness is not found easily.

     

    Two Trips to Italy and more than 10 trips to Australia and New Zealand proved that I could eat gluten-free in even the smallest town or out of the way place without any problem. Australia and Italy have been in the forefront of celiac disease research, and I would have to say these countries get my vote for "best in the world."

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    We always stop at Welcome Visitor Centers when driving through PA (not Philly). They have a lot of info flyers and booklets but none of them mention where to eat gluten-free off the highway. Glutenfreetravel.com prominently displayed on them would be a big help.

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    Guest Brian

    Posted

    I have to say that as all the 'best in the world' are in the US, it should be 'best in the US'. I have found eating gluten-free in Peru, India and Spain was much easier than in most US cities - as their cuisines don't rely much on gluten products. In Spain, I found the most amazing gluten-free croissants, and the care the wait staff in many restaurants took to ensure what I ordered was gluten free was very impressive. Much of Peruvian food is potato based, and Indian cuisine does not use flour except for the breads. I'm finding that San Diego has an increasingly large number of restaurants with gluten-free menus too - Sammy's Pizza chain, all the Cohn restaurants and many single location, locally owned places 'get it' really well.

    I agree. Best in the world would have to be somewhere in Asia or South America where wheat is not the primary grain.

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    Guest Alyssa

    Posted

    I was in Philadelphia for work last week, and I was very comfortable eating out with my colleagues. The restaurants where I ate were very knowledgeable about gluten-containing foods and the need to avoid cross contamination. Although I agree that the contest results are more U.S.-based than truly international, I applaud this site's efforts to expand global awareness of gluten intolerance.

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    I guess the reviewers have never been to Harrisburg, PA. Definitely not the most celiac-friendly place in the world.

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    Guest margaret

    Posted

    I agree with Anne. "Best in the world" is certainly not the same as "best in the US." I live in the Netherlands, and travel a lot in Europe and in the US. Restaurants in the Netherlands know how to deal with gluten-free and are generally terrific, especially if given advance warning. Good gluten-free in Portugal as well, which, like Spain, doesn't use a lot of gluten products. But the very best - counter-intuitively - is Italy. It is a true paradise for celiacs; restaurants have special "celiaci" menus printed up and gluten-free pasta is readily available. Having said all this, my US experiences have been good, too, if you forget the fast food chains.

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    Guest Valerie

    Posted

    I am just happy to hear that somewhere in the US they don't look at you like you have snakes for hair when you ask for a gluten-free menu. I live in the St. Louis area and frequently have to travel to Indiana and find I need to bring my food or suffer. Last place I asked for a gluten-free menu, I was told "we don't have anything free here!!!" Needless to say, evidently my "snakes" were not welcome!!

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    I was told in one place that they only do that from 3:00-5:00.... I've been spoiled at Disneyworld, starved in Las Vegas. I always carry a few Kind bars, and try to keep cheese and gluten-free crackers in a small cooler.

     

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    Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. He has covered Health News for Examiner.com, and provided health and medical content for Sharecare.com. His work has appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate, among others.

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    Daniel Moran
    Celiac.com 06/03/2008 - As you travel and experience the sites of the world you are going to have to stop at a restaurant or destination that has a small kitchen.  Let me tell you a little bit about myself so you can understand that I also started in a small kitchen.
    Chef Daniel P's Autobiography
    I started working at the age of 13 and began my work in a very small tourist town and was promoted up from busboy to dishwasher.  I was so fast at washing the dishes that I was promoted up within a month to cook.  I went from the buffet type restaurant to an ala cart restaurant and buffet line.  At the age of 17 I was completely in charge of the kitchen—this included all ordering, menu making, staff hiring and firing, and every task a person would do to run a successful kitchen.  I didn’t know how to cook though—at least not compared to what I learned later. Yes I could do the basic menus but I wanted more and I left to climb the ladder of a big kitchen—so I set my sites on gourmet food.  At that time I saw that Prince Charles from England was visiting Palm Beach Florida.  I saw that he visited two places while he was in Palm Beach—the Palm Beach Polo Ground and he also visited the Breakers Resort.  I applied at both places when I came to Florida and both wanted to hire me.
    Every one has to start somewhere and you as the traveler are the ones who are going to train the future cooks or chefs.  Yes you—the cook is going to learn from you as celiac patrons, so you need to do the right training.  Let’s use the example of eating on a train that cooks for their patrons as they travel across the country.  I like to think of a small boat or train as two of the most difficult places to prepare a gluten-free meal.  They both are going to be small, and both have the potential to get bumpy while the cook is preparing food.  This means there is a good chance an accident can happen and of course cross-contamination.
    These kitchens probably keep their fires contained in the stove or flat top burners.  By keeping the flame for cooking contained in a box, this means they have less chance of a fire starting and that is very important if you are on a river or going down the train tracks. The cooks are going to use sauté pans, hard top grills, ovens, steam boxes and possibly microwaves.   If you know that you are going ahead of time to these types of restaurants you should see if they can send you the menu ahead of time so that you can look it over.
    Hint: If you know your destination for any of your trip, see if you can get the menu before you arrive, as most places always have their menus prepared ahead of time. If you get the menu you can make up your Chef Daniel P Restaurant Form before you go.
    I would try to spell out your entire meal in great detail.  I also use this technique for all mom and pop restaurants.  You are not insulting a cook or chef by asking them to prepare your meal a certain way.  Every day the cook receives orders from the waitress on how to prepare a particular meal.  Just because you are giving the instructions yourself only means to the chef that you are very serious about how your food is prepared.
    What to Eat And How to Cook Your Meal
    In these type of restaurants that are small and have limited space you have to try to eliminate any mistakes that the cook might make. How…you ask?  Try some of these ideas:

    Notify them ahead a time if you can.  Let the train, boat or any restaurant know that you are coming.  Make sure you tell them the date, time and how many people will be receiving special meals. Don’t be upset if you get there and no one knows that you are coming, it is just part of the business. Have their phone number available so when you arrive in the city you can call a few hours before you arrive to eat.  Just remind them again that you are planning on eating at their restaurant and ask them when their slowest time is. If it is a train or boat ask if you can eat at the last seating time (unless they indicate that an earlier time is slower).  Feel them out to see when the best time is for you to order a specially prepared meal. During your phone call, ask who you should ask for when you do arrive for your meal. Make sure you arrive with your Chef Daniel P Restaurant Form and a pen or pencil. When you arrive ask for the manager or the person you talked to on the phone. Tell the manager in great detail about your special diet request.  Let them know you will be writing out your request that will specifically tell them how to prepare your meal. Ask if there is anything you should know about the kitchen or the chef—anything that could help you in preparing your meal and making it as safe as possible.
    You might have to ask the manager how they cook their food. Some are going to use a flat-top grill, broiler, steamer or even a microwave oven.  Once you find this out it is time to create your meal instructions and present them to the manager so he can deliver them to the cook.How the Cook Prepares Your Food:

    Sautéing: To me is one of the safest ways to have your food prepared.  No matter if the cooks are in a small or large kitchen.  This is how I might write it down for the cook to see:  “Sauté 1 whole chicken breast in olive oil, make sure the pan is very clean and does not have a crumb on it.”  When asking to sauté you can ask for them to make a quick sauce in the pan.  That is what I do, even if it is just to squeeze a lemon on your food, this can add some fresh flavor. Hard Top Grill:  I don’t recommend using this unless you are the very first ones to arrive.  During the day when they cook on the grill pieces of food stay on the grill for the whole day.  You can ask them to use the razor blade to scrape the grill.  Even using the razor blade it is not 100% and food from other meals may get on your food. Steamer: This is a good way to cook as long as your food is the only one in the steamer.  You can ask them to wrap the food and this will keep all crumbs off of your food.  Example:  “Please wrap a piece of salmon up with some saran wrap.  Place it on a holey pan so the steam can circle salmon." Microwave: This is great for potatoes or vegetables and a good way to keep food safe.  I always ask for my veggies to be micro-waved.  This is a great way to get a baked potato.  Even some fish and other entrees can be cooked in the microwave.  Example: “Could you please cook a potato and my vegetables in the microwave.  Put them in a dish then cover with saran wrap.” Fryer: You must stay away from a fryer in small kitchens (unlike fast food chains and some bigger restaurants).  They use the fryer for everything and that means that everything could be in it. When they cook your French fries, the crumbs from the chicken nuggets could get on your food. Boiling: This is another great way to cook food.  You must ask them to only cover the food product that they are cooking.  Some fishes, vegetables and other meats can be cooked this way. If they have a steamer I would ask for that first since they don’t have to wait for it to get hot. Example:  “I would like two eggs boiled or poached in just enough water to cover the entrée so it won’t take so long. You could have the cook put a small amount of water then cover the pan and steam it.” Broiler: Sometimes small kitchens that are moving are not going to have a broiler.  It is the fear of the open fire that could cause a fire in the kitchen.  If they do have one you could ask for this example:  “I would like a piece of salmon on a metal plate.  Cook it until it is done, then splash it with white wine before plating.”

     The main idea you take into small kitchens is this:  It is a lot like cooking at your home (unless you have a huge kitchen).  Those kitchens are made small but can put out large amount of meals if needed.  Those menus are made to accommodate the small amount of storage also.  You need to really know your menu and the ingredients they are using.  Unlike a large kitchen you might not have the extra supplies that a big kitchen has.  They just don’t have the room and you need to think of that.  So if it is a river boat or a train, when you look at the menu some of the items will be canned products, because canned products are so much easier to store than refrigerated items. As you look at the menu take the item you would like and ask them if they can cook it in a sauté pan or maybe in the oven.  This is a very safe way to have your food prepared.
    When I was employed at the resort and we would often have banquets for over 200 people. If the meal was New York strip steak we would put the steaks on the broiler and mark the diamond char marks in order to get the steaks cooked exactly at the same time. We would then pull the steaks off and put them on large sheet pans. Just before we needed the steak, we would put them in the ovens and cook them until they were the proper temperature. The customers never knew that the steaks were cooked in the oven and not the broiler. The char marks on the steak made everyone believe that it was broiled.
    The point is that you can have your food baked as long as you don’t get sick—for me that is the most important thing.  When I do eat out, I don’t care too much about the taste or temperature of the meal—my number one goal is that I get a gluten-free meal and that the restaurant doesn’t ruin my vacation.
    Also, you have to be very careful when you send your food back.   Just remember how busy the cooks are and whether or not they are going to remember your specially ordered meal when it comes back to them.  If they are busy in the back and the waitress says to the cook, “Cook it more,” what do you think happens—will they take as much time as they did the first time?  These are the types of questions that you have to ask yourself when you are sitting at your table and thinking about sending your meal back.
    I know that we all expect a perfect meal when we pay for it.  Sometimes it is just easier to ask them to only warm it up in the microwave. Something to think about is that the microwave is like a closed room where it is not likely that your food will get contaminated.  Most kitchens, especially smaller ones, have a microwave like the one that you use at home.  If you do need your meal cooked more, try to explain it to the manager and remind him that you will get very sick if it gets contaminated—ask the manager nicely if you can watch and see if the cook does it right.
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    Chef Daniel P. 

    Jennifer Arrington
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    Rebecca  Herman
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    Alcohol beverage labeling is regulated by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau of the U.S. Treasury.  Under the Bureau’s current labeling regulations, Maine Distilleries is not permitted to print “gluten-free product” on its bottles.  Since the passage of the U.S. Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act in 2004, the Bureau has promised to finalize and implement labeling regulations that would require allergen statements on all bottles.  Three million people with celiac disease and another 18 million with gluten sensitivity have been eagerly awaiting the final approval of these long overdue regulations.
    Cold River’s classic vodka has acquired an impressive number of awards for such a new product.  In September 2007, it earned a Five-Star Premium Recommendation from Spirits Journal. In 2008, it was named to Wine Enthusiast’s prestigious list of “Top 50 Spirits,” and earned the magazine’s sole “Classic (96-100) / Highest Recommendation” rating for 2008.  It went on to earn Double Gold at San Francisco’s 2008 World Spirits Competition, and was featured as “The Best American Vodka” in spirits expert F. Paul Pacult’s Kindred Spirits 2.
    Are Cold River’s vodkas and gin gluten free?  Until the new regulations are finalized, it’s tough to say.  Meanwhile, disclosure at Maine Distilleries is as clear as the Cold River.
    FOR MORE INFORMATION:
    Green Thumb Farms
    http://greenthumbfarms.com
    Maine Distilleries
    http://www.mainedistilleries.com
    Gluten Free Dietician - Labeling of Alcohol
    http://www.glutenfreedietitian.com/newsletter/2011/01/18/gluten-free-labeling-of-alcohol/
    Note:  Alcohol beverage labeling for gluten free beer; or, wine and cider containing less than 7 percent alcohol (by volume), is regulated by the Food & Drug Administration.


    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 06/02/2015 - Consider the real estate saying about: Location, location, location. Now, ask yourself how far would you go for a good gluten-free pizza?
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    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 06/23/2018 - If you’re looking for a great gluten-free Mexican-style favorite that is sure to be a big hit at dinner or at your next potluck, try these green chili enchiladas with roasted cauliflower. The recipe calls for chicken, but they are just as delicious when made vegetarian using just the roasted cauliflower. Either way, these enchiladas will disappear fast. Roasted cauliflower gives these green chili chicken enchiladas a deep, smokey flavor that diners are sure to love.
    Ingredients:
    2 cans gluten-free green chili enchilada sauce (I use Hatch brand) 1 small head cauliflower, roasted and chopped 6 ounces chicken meat, browned ½ cup cotija cheese, crumbled ½ cup queso fresco, diced 1 medium onion, diced ⅓ cup green onions, minced ¼ cup radishes, sliced 1 tablespoon cooking oil 1 cup chopped cabbage, for serving ½ cup sliced cherry or grape tomatoes, for serving ¼ cup cilantro, chopped 1 dozen fresh corn tortillas  ⅔ cup oil, for softening tortillas 1 large avocado, cut into small chunks Note: For a tasty vegetarian version, just omit the chicken, double the roasted cauliflower, and prepare according to directions.
    Directions:
    Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a cast iron or ovenproof pan until hot.
    Add chicken and brown lightly on both sides. 
    Remove chicken to paper towels to cool.
     
    Cut cauliflower into small pieces and place in the oiled pan.
    Roast in oven at 350F until browned on both sides.
    Remove from the oven when tender. 
    Allow roasted cauliflower to cool.
    Chop cauliflower, or break into small pieces and set aside.
    Chop cooled chicken and set aside.
    Heat 1 inch of cooking oil in a small frying pan.
    When oil is hot, use a spatula to submerge a tortilla in the oil and leave only long enough to soften, about 10 seconds or so. 
    Remove soft tortilla to a paper towel and repeat with remaining tortillas.
    Pour enough enchilada sauce to coat the bottom of a large casserole pan.
    Dunk a tortilla into the sauce and cover both sides. Add more sauce as needed.
    Fill each tortilla with bits of chicken, cauliflower, onion, and queso fresco, and roll into shape.
    When pan is full of rolled enchiladas, top with remaining sauce.
    Cook at 350F until sauce bubbles.
    Remove and top with fresh cotija cheese and scallions.
    Serve with rice, beans, and cabbage, and garnish with avocado, cilantro, and sliced grape tomatoes.

     

    Roxanne Bracknell
    Celiac.com 06/22/2018 - The rise of food allergies means that many people are avoiding gluten in recent times. In fact, the number of Americans who have stopped eating gluten has tripled in eight years between 2009 and 2017.
    Whatever your rationale for avoiding gluten, whether its celiac disease, a sensitivity to the protein, or any other reason, it can be really hard to find suitable places to eat out. When you’re on holiday in a new and unknown environment, this can be near impossible. As awareness of celiac disease grows around the world, however, more and more cities are opening their doors to gluten-free lifestyles, none more so than the 10 locations on the list below.
    Perhaps unsurprisingly, the U.S is a hotbed of gluten-free options, with four cities making the top 10, as well as the Hawaiian island of Maui. Chicago, in particular, is a real haven of gluten-free fare, with 240 coeliac-safe eateries throughout this huge city. The super hip city of Portland also ranks highly on this list, with the capital of counterculture rich in gluten-free cuisine, with San Francisco and Denver also included. Outside of the states, several prominent European capitals also rank very highly on the list, including Prague, the picturesque and historic capital of the Czech Republic, which boasts the best-reviewed restaurants on this list.
    The Irish capital of Dublin, meanwhile, has the most gluten-free establishments, with a huge 330 to choose from, while Amsterdam and Barcelona also feature prominently thanks to their variety of top-notch gluten-free fodder.
    Finally, a special mention must go to Auckland, the sole representative of Australasia in this list, with the largest city in New Zealand rounding out the top 10 thanks to its 180 coeliacsafe eateries.
    The full top ten gluten-free cities are shown in the graphic below:
     

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 06/21/2018 - Would you buy a house advertised as ‘gluten-free’? Yes, there really is such a house for sale. 
    It seems a Phoenix realtor Mike D’Elena is hoping that his trendy claim will catch the eye of a buyer hungry to avoid gluten, or, at least one with a sense of humor. D’Elena said he crafted the ads as a way to “be funny and to draw attention.” The idea, D’Elena said, is to “make it memorable.” 
    Though D’Elena’s marketing seeks to capitalizes on the gluten-free trend, he knows Celiac disease is a serious health issue for some people. “[W]e’re not here to offend anybody….this is just something we're just trying to do to draw attention and do what's best for our clients," he said. 
    Still, the signs seem to be working. D'elena had fielded six offers within a few days of listing the west Phoenix home.
    "Buying can sometimes be the most stressful thing you do in your entire life so why not have some fun with it," he said. 
    What do you think? Clever? Funny?
    Read more at Arizonafamily.com.

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    Bakery On Main started in the small bakery of a natural foods market on Main Street in Glastonbury, Connecticut. Founder Michael Smulders listened when his customers with Celiac Disease would mention the lack of good tasting, gluten-free options available to them. Upon learning this, he believed that nobody should have to suffer due to any kind of food allergy or dietary need. From then on, his mission became creating delicious and fearlessly unique gluten-free products that were clean and great tasting, while still being safe for his Celiac customers!
    Premium ingredients, bakeshop delicious recipes, and happy customers were our inspiration from the beginning— and are still the cornerstones of Bakery On Main today. We are a fiercely ethical company that believes in integrity and feels that happiness and wholesome, great tasting food should be harmonious. We strive for that in everything we bake in our dedicated gluten-free facility that is GFCO Certified and SQF Level 3 Certified. We use only natural, NON-GMO Project Verified ingredients and all of our products are certified Kosher Parve, dairy and casein free, and we have recently introduced certified Organic items as well! 
    Our passion is to bake the very best products while bringing happiness to our customers, each other, and all those we meet!
    We are available during normal business hours at: 1-888-533-8118 EST.
    To learn more about us at: visit our site.

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 06/20/2018 - Currently, the only way to manage celiac disease is to eliminate gluten from the diet. That could be set to change as clinical trials begin in Australia for a new vaccine that aims to switch off the immune response to gluten. 
    The trials are set to begin at Australia’s University of the Sunshine Coast Clinical Trials Centre. The vaccine is designed to allow people with celiac disease to consume gluten with no adverse effects. A successful vaccine could be the beginning of the end for the gluten-free diet as the only currently viable treatment for celiac disease. That could be a massive breakthrough for people with celiac disease.
    USC’s Clinical Trials Centre Director Lucas Litewka said trial participants would receive an injection of the vaccine twice a week for seven weeks. The trials will be conducted alongside gastroenterologist Dr. James Daveson, who called the vaccine “a very exciting potential new therapy that has been undergoing clinical trials for several years now.”
    Dr. Daveson said the investigational vaccine might potentially restore gluten tolerance to people with celiac disease.The trial is open to adults between the ages of 18 and 70 who have clinically diagnosed celiac disease, and have followed a strict gluten-free diet for at least 12 months. Anyone interested in participating can go to www.joinourtrials.com.
    Read more at the website for Australia’s University of the Sunshine Coast Clinical Trials Centre.

    Source:
    FoodProcessing.com.au