Sir; Congratulations for giving space to covering the industry’s indifference to coeliac disease and the gluten-free diet (The Saturday Essay, May 14, p28).
My mother is a coeliac with hypersensitivity to gluten and therefore she is totally unable to have any grains, including oats which some coeliacs can actually have.
She was diagnosed 12 years ago now and has settled down into the diet despite having found it so difficult originally. Back then it was almost impossible to find anything gluten-free in the supermarkets.
The worst problem she faces is when a label states gluten-free but the product does contain a small amount of gluten.
For my mother and the other people with such a high sensitivity, they become really quite ill in a very short space of time. There should be absolutely no margin for gluten inclusion if it is classed as gluten-free.
Gluten allergy should be treated as seriously as nut allergies. Although the effects are not so immediate, gluten allergy sufferers can develop cancers of the stomach and bowel if even minor amounts of gluten enter their system.
As this disease is also classed as an inherited disease, there are many more coeliacs yet to show up but I wonder how many people have died prior to correct diagnosis when they could have lived long, happy lives by changing their diets.
Food manufacturers should be forced to list all allergens on their packaging, and if it states ‘free from’, then it should be totally free from.