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UK Schools Warned Over 'Gluten-free' Meals

Celiac.com 03/23/2012 - Most parents of gluten-free children can attest to the challenges of making certain that the food the kids are eating is, in fact, gluten-free.

Many of those parents can also be comforted by the fact that more public schools are recognizing the need for gluten-free lunches for certain children, and are making an effort to provide nutritious gluten-free alternatives for those children.

Photo: CC - spcbrassWell, in a development that may interest all parents of gluten-free children, the BBC is reporting that schools in Northamptonshire, UK, have been to ordered to discontinue two particular "gluten-free" meals after the meals were found to contain unacceptable levels of gluten. Gluten from wheat, rye or barley triggers an immune reaction in certain people, requiring them to avoid eating food containing even trace amounts of those grains.

Nutritionists overseeing the gluten-free meals discovered gluten in a supplier's shepherd's pie and beef Bolognese. These meals are served to gluten-free children at schools across the county.

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The BBC report says the county council has about 20 pupils registered with gluten-intolerance or celiac disease, but that no children had shown an adverse reaction.

Unacceptably high levels of gluten were detected in a gravy powder used to make the two meals, according to the local authority contacted by the BBC.

The report cites Councilor Andrew Grant as saying that nutritionists regularly monitor the ingredients used by companies that supply food to the schools, and that one such check found that food labeled as gluten-free in fact continued gluten.

In many gluten-sensitive individuals, even a small amount of gluten can trigger an adverse reaction. So, even if the even if the contamination is slight, Grants notes, it is nevertheless completely unacceptable for a child with allergies to be exposed to this risk.

According to the article, county officials wants to make certain that the problem is confined to these two particular products, so it has asked for a full investigation into the cause of the problem. 

Are problems such as this to be expected as we transition gluten-free food into new areas, such as public schools? Are even these problems a sign that celiac disease and gluten-sensitivity awareness is increasing? Are such issues a sign that more and better gluten-free food options lie just around the corner? Let us know your thoughts.

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2 Responses:

 
Janet ELKINS
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said this on
26 Mar 2012 6:06:13 AM PDT
Haven't read you is a while-sorry for what I have missed!

 
felicity
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said this on
17 Apr 2012 5:21:35 PM PDT
I've had good luck with sticking to corn, potato, rice, and tapioca, as my main gluten free diet ingredients. First I found some starches to be gluten free but then found out it depends on the type of starch. So many things to keep in mind…




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Hello and welcome I don't have celiac. I do have several symptoms in common with you and I do have a problem with gluten, so NCGS for want of a better term. A celiac response to gluten involves the immune system so there certainly can be a delay between ingestion and the body producing...

This is why many of us stick to our own "Trusted Brands" of things we know are safe, and only buy stuff with the offical certification for gluten free. NOTE also in the US they do not HAVE to tell you their facility also processes wheat on the label, just if the actual product contains it in the ...

I make my own mini loafs of a simple almond,coconut,apple sauce blend for dense, bland bread gluten free, and have my pastor bless them. I then keep them in the freezer and bring a piece with me for communion.

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I and many others here have been there and sympathise! Keep on keepin' on, it won't be long now before you can start feeling better. In the meantime, if there's a cheesecake, pastry etc that you want to say goodbye to, now's the time...