What is coeliac disease?
According to the medical definition, coeliac disease is a permanent intolerance to gluten, a protein found in oats, wheat, emmer, kamut, barley, rye, spelt and triticum.
The incidence of this intolerance in Italy is estimated to be one in every 100/150 people. There could therefore potentially be around 400,000 coeliac sufferers, but only arnd 75,000 have benn diagnosed. On the site of the AIC, the Italiana Coeliac Association that the number of cases of coeliac is rising by 10% every year (2800 new cases) and food-related allergic disorders are on the increase. Today, 40% of children are sensitive to one type of food or another.
Treating coeliac disease today involves excluding from the diet some of the commonest foods, such as bread, pasta, biscuits and pizza, but also getting rid of the slightest trace of flour from every dish.
Gelato is not a high-risk food
We can confidently make that claim, as there are really very few flavors of gelato which contain gluten. And it is pretty simple to work out what they are because it is flavors like tiramisù, zuppa inglese, biscuit…, which correspond more or less to the foods which coeliacs have to avoid anyway.
All of the other flavors, from vanilla to hazelnut, from pistachio to strawberry, from chocolate to lemon, coffee, peach and so on, are practically gluten-free, because there is generally no gluten in commercial texturisers.
Especially, given the new regulations which require manufacturers of ingredient mixtures to clearly label any traces of gluten, it is very easy for a gelato-maker to decide whether to make all of his products suitale for everyone.
Of course, the more scrupulous ones, mindful of their customers’ needs, can ask their suppliers to certify that the products used have been checked by the AIC and then display that certification in their shop.
But the risk is really minimal and it is first of all up to the customer to use their common sense and use a cup rather than a cone and choose from among the infinite variety of flavors, apart from the few which clearly contain gluten.