The Coeliac Society of Ireland are calling on Irish supermarkets to sign up to their gluten-free promise and commit to stocking a minimum of eight staple food products that are gluten-free, all year round. The Society are making the call ahead of Coeliac Awareness Week, which is taking place nationwide between 8th and 15th May.
Coeliac Awareness Week is sponsored by Ireland’s leading grocery retailer, SuperValu, who are the first to commit to the Society’s Gluten Free Promise.
Commenting at the launch, Fergal O’Sullivan, CEO of the Coeliac Society, said: “There is a lot confusion among the public about coeliac disease, what its symptoms are, and its seriousness. The only treatment is to follow a gluten-free diet. When it comes to food shopping, many people with coeliac disease have difficulties searching for basic gluten-free essentials and often have to visit more than one supermarket. This Coeliac Awareness Week, we’re calling on supermarkets to help people with coeliac disease to manage their gluten-free diet with ease by stocking at least eight staple gluten-free food products in their stores.
“This will have an enormous impact on the lives of those living with coeliac disease. Instead of having to shop around to various supermarkets to purchase their food essentials such as bread and pasta, they will now be able to buy their staple items in the one shop, which will save them time and hassle, as well as encouraging them to do their entire weekly shop in supermarkets who have signed up to the Gluten Free Promise.”
Also at the launch of Coeliac Awareness Week was James Bruen, Health & Wellness Trading Manager, SuperValu, who said, “At SuperValu, we are committed to ensuring all of our customers’ needs are met, including those with coeliac disease. We have committed to provide at least eight staple food products that are gluten-free, to ensure our customers with coeliac disease have choices available to them. We’re delighted to be sponsoring this year’s Coeliac Awareness Week to help to raise awareness of coeliac disease and to be able to show people with coeliac disease that there are hundreds of gluten-free products available to them in store – their lifestyle and eating habits do not need to be restricted.”
During Awareness Week, the Coeliac Society will be highlighting the fact that coeliac disease can occur at any stage in life, and is a life-long condition. Coeliac disease affects an estimated one in every 100 people in Ireland.
Commenting further, Mr. O’Sullivan said: “Coeliac disease can affect anyone at any stage of their life, and once you are diagnosed as coeliac, it’s a life-long condition for which there is no cure. The only treatment is to follow a gluten-free diet, and we hope that supermarkets nationwide join our Gluten Free Promise so that people living with coeliac disease will be able to continue to lead healthy, active and fulfilling lives, unrestricted by their dietary requirements.”
What is Coeliac Disease?
Coeliac disease is an auto-immune disease that prevents those affected from digesting gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. The disease can manifest itself at any stage in a person’s lifetime, with symptoms including abdominal pain, recurring mouth-ulcers, weight-loss, vomiting and diarrhoea. It is estimated to affect 47,500 people in Ireland.