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Celiac.com 11/19/2013 - There's an interesting take on the precedent-setting ruling issued early in 2013 by the U.S. Justice Department, which found that celiac disease and other serious food allergies and sensitivities can be considered disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ruling arises from a settlement between the Justice Department and Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts that came after Justice investigated the university in response to a student complaint that the school’s mandatory meal plan did not provide sufficient gluten-free food alternatives, and that the school did not accommodate the needs of those on gluten-free diets by excusing their participation in the meal plan or providing a reasonable alternative. The ruling has led a number of colleges and universities with student meal programs to make efforts to offer suitable options for students with celiac disease and other serious food allergies. However, Janet Raasch, points out in a blog entry on lawyers.com that the ruling applies more broadly to schools and restaurants at large. Raasch says that "…schools, restaurants and other places that serve food can be exposed to legal challenges if they fail to honor requests for accommodations by people with celiac disease." It's important to remember that Ms. Raasch is not a lawyer. So, while she has an interesting take, and it remains to be seen if gluten-free options become more numerous partly out of a push for restaurants and other food service establishments to follow in the footsteps of colleges and universities with student meal programs. What do you think will be the impact if schools, restaurants and food purveyors treat celiac and other food allergies as an ADA disability? Will it mean more gluten-free options? Better standards? Share your comments below. Source: blogs.lawyers.com Post by Janet Raasch
Celiac.com 06/18/2015 - An Irish distillery has run afoul of regulatory authorities over labels that tout its gin and vodka as "gluten-free." The artisanal, Cork-based, St Patrick's Distillery claims it is a common misconception that all gin and vodkas were gluten-free. The company claims that, since its products are made with gluten-free ingredients, its labels are accurately distinguishing its vodka and gin from other products made with wheat. However, after numerous complaints, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland plans to follow up on the distillery's claims. The FSAI points out that all distilled beverages are gluten-free, calls the claims misleading, and says the company could be in breach of strict Irish food-labeling laws. A spokesperson for the FSAI said: "Under the Food Information for Consumers Regulation, the food information must not mislead the consumer by suggesting that the food possess special characteristics when, in fact, all similar foods (in this case, vodka and gin) possess such characteristics." Niamh O'Connor, who runs Cork Nutrition, said she that she was incredulous about the company's claims. "It is an absolute indisputable fact that distilled spirits are gluten-free, even if gluten-containing grains are used as a raw ingredient," said O'Conner. "Therefore…all gin and vodka products are gluten-free so one cannot label their own product as "gluten-free." Ireland's Coeliac Society, which supports people with the food intolerance, described the claims from St Patrick's Distillery as "unhelpful". "Wine, spirits, and cider are gluten free," said the society's Gráinne Denning. In addition to labeling their gin and vodka as "gluten-free," the company also refers to their new range of spirits as being lactose free. Of course, all distilled spirits are naturally dairy free and lactose free. What do you think? Are such labels helpful, or misleading? Share your thoughts below.
Celiac.com 08/16/2012 - Tests for blood antibodies against native gliadin (anti-nGli) are still often assumed to perform better in the diagnosis of celiac disease in young children than tests for antibodies to deamidated gliadin (anti-dGli), tissue transglutaminase (anti-tTG), and endomysium (EmA). A team of researchers recently set out to determine whether testing IgG and IgA antibodies Against native gliadin was best for diagnosing celiac disease in children under 2-years old. Specifically they wanted to compare the performance of assays for anti-nGli, anti-dGli, anti-tTG, and EmA in this age group. The research team included T. Richter, X. Bossuyt, P. Vermeersch, H.H. Uhlig, M. Stern, A. Hauer, K.P. Zimmer, L. Mearin, J.H. Roo, C. Dähnrich, and T. Mothes. They are affiliated with the University Children's Hospital, the Children's Hospital of the Clinical Centre, "Sankt Georg," and the Institute of Laboratory Medicine, Clinical Chemistry and Molecular Diagnostics at University Hospital in Leipzig, Germany; with the Department Laboratory Medicine of University Hospital in Leuven, Belgium, the University Children's Hospital in Tübingen, Germany, the University Children's Hospital in Graz, Austria, the University Children's Hospital in Giessen, Germany, the Department of Paediatrics at Leiden University Medical Centre in Leiden, The Netherlands, and with EUROIMMUN Medizinische Labordiagnostika GmbH in Lübeck, Germany. For their study, they conducted a retrospective analysis of 184 children. The study group included 42 children with celiac disease under normal diet, and a control group of 142 children up to 2 years of age. The team measured immunoglobulin (Ig) A- and IgG-anti-dGli, IgA- and IgG-anti-nGli, IgA- and IgG-anti-tTG, and IgA-EmA in blood samples. They calculated areas under receiver operating characteristics curves, sensitivities, specificities, positive and negative predictive values, positive and negative likelihood ratios, as well as diagnostic odds ratios. When all the data was complete, they found that only tests for IgG-anti-dGli, IgA-anti-tTG, and IgA-EmA had high specificity (≥0.96) connected with high sensitivity (≥0.86), with high positive predictive values (≥0.52 and ≥0.69 at pretest probabilities of 0.05 and 0.1, respectively) and negative predictive values (≥0.99 and ≥0.98 at pretest probabilities of 0.05 and 0.1, respectively). These tests also showed high positive likelihood ratio (≥24) at low negative likelihood ratio (≤0.15) and high diagnostic odds ratios (≥136). From their data, the team concluded that using anti-nGli tests to diagnose celiac disease in young children was not helpful. They maintain that IgA-anti-tTG, IgA-EmA, and IgG-anti-dGli provided much more reliable results than anti-nGli in diagnosing celiac disease in young children. Source: J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2012 Jul;55(1):21-25.
Vijay Kumar, M.D., Research Associate Professor at the University of Buffalo and President and Director of IMMCO Diagnostics: Not really. It is not true that the serological methods have lower predictive value in children less than two years of age. In all the studies that we did, there was 100% correlation of the EMA to the disease activity irrespective of the age. Karoly Horvath, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pediatrics; Director, Peds GI & Nutrition Laboratory; University of Maryland at Baltimore: There are age dependent changes in several blood parameters during childhood. It is well known that immunoglobulin levels depend on the age of children. E.g. the IgA class immunoglobulins reach the adult level only by 16 years of age, and the blood level of IgA immunoglobulins is only 1/5th of adult value below two years of age. A large study from Europe (Brgin-Wollf et al. Arch Dis Child 1991;66:941-947) showed that the endomysium antibody test is less specific and sensitive in children below two years of age. They found that the sensitivity of the EmA test decreased from 98% to 88% in children younger than 2 years of age. It means that 12% of their patients with celiac disease, who were younger than two years of age, did not have an increase in their endomysium antibody levels.