The Italian Almanac

special food for celiacs

Italian News - May 19

Top Italian chefs are leading the fight on discrimination against sufferers of celiac disease and food allergies, according to a new study. Celiac disease is an intestinal disorder caused by an inability to digest gluten, a substance found in wheat, barley and rye. Sufferers - who number as many as one in 300 people in Europe and the USA - are forced to avoid foods like pasta, bread, pastries and beer. As a result many stop dining out because it is difficult to find restaurants that cater for them.

But this is becoming increasingly unnecessary at Italy's top restaurants, according to a survey conducted by Eta Meta Research. The study showed that over a third of top restaurants in Italy - chosen by the main food guides - have special dishes or complete menus for clients with this condition. "The great restaurateurs have shown themselves to be very attentive to the needs of people with food problems," said Eta Meta Research President Saro Trovato. "They are not just doing this with special menus, but also through their contacts with doctors and the associations that represent sufferers. "In this way they are fighting a discrimination that often makes it difficult, if not impossible, for celiac disease and food-allergy sufferers to eat out".

Eta Meta Research said that 21% of the restaurants reviewed always have a special gluten-free section on their menus, while another 12% prepare special gluten-free dishes on request.