Gill Brennan, CEO, The Coeliac Society of Ireland serves a gluten free pizza to Lucy Hutchinson, from Artane at the launch of first ever national Gluten Free Day. (Photo: Peter Houlihan)

The nation’s restaurateurs are being called upon to take the Gluten Free Eating Out Pledge to provide more menu options for Ireland’s estimated 48,500 coeliac sufferers.

The Coeliac Society of Ireland is launching a new system, so that restaurants and cafes can reassure people with coeliac disease, their families and friends that they are able to eat there in confidence that they won’t become unwell.

Under the Gluten Free Eating Out Pledge, participating restaurants must:

  • Meet all conditions specified in the Gluten Free Standard (or Kitchen Safety Checklist)
  • Have members of staff who have completed the online catering training provided as part of the procedure
  • Must annotate all menus with the GF symbol as appropriate or have a separate GF menu.

Lifelong condition

Coeliac disease is a serious autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system reacts to gluten found in food and attacks the gut.

There is no cure; it is a lifelong condition for which the only treatment is a strict gluten free diet.

Symptoms of someone with coeliac disease being ‘glutened’ can include bloating, diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach pains and lethargy which can last several days and in some serious cases medical/ hospital care may be required to treat it.

The launch took place during Coeliac Awareness Week, which ran from May 13th-19th.