Australian health officers have found that a number of cafés and restaurants were serving ‘gluten-free’ foods and drinks without them being genuinely gluten-free.
- Authorities tested around 150 meals at several dozen eateries in Melbourne and found that 14 trendy restaurants falsely advertised their “gluten-free” products.
- This means that 10% of cafés and restaurants used deceiving marketing practices to do business.
The investigation also revealed that nine of the 14 eateries used high levels of gluten in their gluten-free products, which were borderline unsafe for people affected by the celiac disease.
The mislabeled foods included roasted vegetable salads, chicken burgers, and chicken risotto. A study documenting the findings was published this week in the Medical Journal of Australia.
Gluten-free Products Should Be Properly Labeled
Experts warn that mislabeling menu items as “gluten-free” can pose serious health risks for people that are intolerant to gluten. Lead author Dr. Jason Tye-Din explained that even tiny bits of the wheat protein can harm celiac disease patients.
We are talking one-100th of a slice of bread, so just a few crumbs,
Dr. Tye-Din added.
In Australia, one in 70 people lives with the disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that can boost the risk of cancer, infertility, and liver disease. Researchers also found that many of the foods can be contaminated with gluten unintentionally. In many businesses that mislabel the foods, staff members haven’t been properly trained.
The study revealed that restaurants and cafés that failed to offer proper training to their employees had a higher risk of contamination.
Researchers believe that the celiac disease affects people that are genetically predisposed to the condition. If these people consume gluten, they can severely damage their small intestine. Around one in 100 people lives with the condition globally.
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