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Are Chefs Finally Coming Around on Gluten-free Issues?
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.
The 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.
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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Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. His poems, essays and photographs have appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate among others.
He is a member of both the National Writers Union, the International Federation of Journalists, and covers San Francisco Health News for Examiner.com.View all articles by Jefferson Adams