What we’re doing to help you
Working with our health experts
Our information on coronavirus and coeliac disease is supported by our Health Advisory Council, a network of coeliac disease experts who advise us on scientific and health issues. As there is no research on coeliac disease and coronavirus, together, we have interpreted the Government information and the latest research on coeliac disease. As this is a fluid and fast moving situation, we are in regular contact with them to make sure we’re bringing you evidence based information you can trust.
Asking for gluten free foods to be protected
We know there are big issues at the moment with finding some foods and gluten free food is proving a challenge for many too.
So far, Hilary Croft, CEO of Coeliac UK, has written to the:
- British Retail Consortium (BRC), the trade association for all UK retailers
- Food and Drink Federation (FDF) which represents the UK food and drink industry
- Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the government department working with the retailers on this situation
We have asked for help in ensuring that people with coeliac disease can find the food they need to stay well. We have asked for gluten free food to be controlled so that people with coeliac disease are protected and able to manage their diet, just as there are other initiatives already in place such as limiting some grocery items, dedicated shopping hours for the elderly, vulnerable customers, NHS and social care workers.
We are in conversation with DEFRA, sharing the examples our community shared about the issues they're facing finding food. We have provided DEFRA with a report on your survey responses to illustrate the problems gluten free consumers are facing.
We have been working closely with our connections across the food industry to help you find gluten free food in new ways, to ensure you have gluten free options you can have delivered to your door, whether that’s hot take out, or gluten free shopping. We put together a list of current services, offers and updates from our network.
Read our tips on trying to shop gluten free in the current crisis.
Raising the profile with the media
We have issued a statement appealing to shoppers to think before they buy free from foods if they don’t need them, which has so far been published in:
We hope this helps people think differently when they’re in the supermarkets and helps retain gluten free food for those who need it most.
Talking to our food industry networks
We are contacting all of our Crossed Grain licensed manufacturers to see if their business has been affected and if they have seen an impact on stock levels and availability. We will be keeping in touch with our licensees regularly over the next few months to monitor the situation and will keep you updated on any significant developments. So far, feedback is positive and we are seeing companies working on new initiatives to respond to the environment. We will keep you updated as things develop.
We are also supporting foodservice businesses that are developing ways of getting gluten free food to our community. The government has relaxed the planning rules so that food business can operate hot food takeaways to serve people whilst they stay at home. Currently our GF accreditation scheme covers existing accredited businesses where delivery or take away is offered directly by the food business itself and we have now developed new guidance to our GF accredited restaurants as they develop a new service of providing takeaway gluten free food to respond the needs of our community at this time.
Mobilising our volunteers
We are so lucky to be well supported with a network of dedicated volunteers who help those in need in their communities and across the UK. We are working with them to look after the most vulnerable and develop new initiatives so we can support those self isolating and in need of additional help, together.
Gluten free prescriptions
As around 30% of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in England have removed routine access to gluten free prescriptions, we have had enqueries about whether these would be reinstated in light of the current crisis. It is unlikely that local policies will be reviewed at this time due to current pressures on the NHS. Over 60% of CCGs in England are still prescribing gluten free bread and flour mixes and gluten free prescriptions are available in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Read more.
Advising healthcare professionals
Any healthcare professionals can use our website and find advice on their patients with coeliac disease here. Through our healthcare professional network we are regularly updating them on our position on coeliac disease and coronavirus so they can help those who need support.