Celiac Disease Officially Earned a Spot in Mainstream America this Summer

Sunday,May 26, 2013 @ 10:08

(PRWEB) July 26, 2004

On July 20, Congress passed the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) ensuring that people with celiac disease and food allergies can read ingredient statements and easily determine if the product is safe to eat.

“This will take the guess-work out of eating for consumers with celiac disease and food allergies,” says Beth Hillson, owner of the Gluten-Free Pantry, and a member of the American Celiac Task Force (ACTF), which was instrumental in obtaining passage of the bill.

“Manufacturers will find the activity on their consumer hot lines decreasing dramatically as they ‘tell all’ on their labels,” according to Hillson who is also a celiac and the mother of a celiac teenager.

Representative Nita Lowey (NY) a sponsor of the bill, explains “With no treatment for celiac disease, the only alternative is to follow a strict gluten-free diet – a difficult task considering that food ingredient statements are written for scientists, not consumers. Celiac sufferers should have adequate, clear information at their fingertips.”

The Gluten-Free Pantry, based in Glastonbury, CT, understands this need only too well, as the company has been providing safe, gluten-free products for people for more than 11 years. “We have watched our business grow continually as more people are diagnosed with celiac disease,” says Hillson. The Gluten-Free Pantry carries more than 400 items that are suitable for people who cannot eat wheat and gluten.

Hillson and fellow members of ACTF were also on hand in June when a statement was issued from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) indicating that celiac disease is under-diagnosed and suggesting that up to 3 million people have the disease. In a landmark consensus statement, NIH called for greater physician and public awareness and earlier testing for the disease.

Celiac Disease is a digestive disorder that is triggered by eating the protein, gluten, which is found in the grains wheat, rye and barley. There is no cure for the disease, but it can be controlled through strict avoidance of foods that contain gluten. The new labeling bill requires listing any of the top eight food allergens by their common name if they are present in a product: milk, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat. Disclosure of wheat covers about 90% of products that celiacs must avoid.

Hillson founded the Gluten-Free Pantry when “there was very little available for people on a gluten-free diet.” Today the company offers a wide range of gourmet baking mixes, skillet meals, spice blends, pasta, cookies, breads, cereals and more. “This is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg in the range of foods we need to offer,” says Hillson who is continually developing new products for her customers.

“This food labeling bill will open a whole new world of possibilities for “gluten-free consumers,” she adds.

The Gluten-Free Pantry is located in Glastonbury, CT. Products are available on line at http://www.glutenfree.com or by calling 1-800-291-8386.

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