Gluten free but not suitable for coeliacs

Coeliac Association Malta

As we are all aware, the number of eateries, ranging from take away kiosks to fully fledged restaurants adding gluten free food to their menus is always increasing; however, this ever-increasing choice does not provide coeliacs with the peace of mind that there is an ever increasing number of locations where safe food is available.

Social media is providing coeliacs with the possibility to share experiences, particularly worrying ones, but it is very important to highlight that there are varying levels of symptom severity when glutened including ‘silent’ coeliacs and a number that seem to willingly take gluten reaction in their stride… yet still offer recommendations on various places claiming to serve gluten free food.

The Association has, on various occasions, reported blatant disregard of the law to the appropriate Health Department’s Directorate and, when our complaint is acknowledged, the response is always that the matter is being followed up.

Whilst we wish to believe that the follow up does produce results, we are next to certain that, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, resources are stretched to the limit and that policing restaurants for allergen shortcomings does not rank too high on the list of priorities.

It is with these concerns in mind that the Association has recently written to the Deputy Prime minister and Minister for Health to inform him of our problems and to let him know that coeliacs are crying out for help to eliminate restaurants’ widespread shortcomings when acting outside the law.

We will keep you updated on developments as and when they materialise.