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19 January 2018

Coeliac disease and sliced meats

All Fumagalli’s cured meats are guaranteed gluten free, not just its dry-cured ham.
“Buono a sapersi”(Good to Know) edited by Jessica Lops (Dietician)  

Coeliac disease is a permanent intolerance to dietary gluten, a protein found in certain cereals like wheat, hulled wheat, kamut, barley, rye, spelt and triticale. If someone suffering from coeliac disease eats this protein, it triggers off a toxic reaction, changing the structure and functionality of the intestinal mucosa and thus reducing the absorption of many nutrients which our body needs, altering the person’s nutritional state.

Sliced meats are allowed in a coeliac’s diet, but we must be sure they are totally gluten free, as is the case with all Fumagalli’s cured meats. If cured meats are selected and consumed in moderation, they are an excellent source of proteins and mineral salts for coeliac sufferers. To date, dry-cured ham is the only sliced meat that is safe for coeliacs, irrespective of the brand, as it is naturally gluten free. All other cured meats, like cooked ham, salami and bresaola, belong to the category of foods which are “at risk” because they could contain gluten which is often used as a thickener. So coeliacs always need to check if a product they wish to eat appears in the A.I.C handbook, or if the manufacturer has certified it gluten free on the label.

The symptoms of coeliac disease are extremely varied and are often difficult to recognise: they range from tiredness or anaemia to considerable weight loss which can lead to malnutrition. The first stage in diagnosing a gluten intolerance is to check for antibodies: anti-gliadin (AGA), anti-endomysial (EMA) and tissue anti-transglutaminase (tTG). To confirm the diagnosis, a biopsy of the small intestine is needed to verify the condition of the intestinal mucosa.
This allows us to see any damage.

Currently the only treatment for coeliac disease is a gluten free diet. It is a lifelong diet and, if properly followed, the symptoms will disappear.
The diet should be made up of the following groups of foods:

  1. Naturally gluten free food.
  2. Special gluten free products (Italian Legislative Decree No. 11/92) which have been communicated to the Ministry of Health.
  3. Frequently used food carrying the label “Gluten Free” in accordance with Regulation EC 41/2009 which has been produced in accordance with a self-inspection programme which is specially adapted to ensure the amount of residual gluten does not exceed 20 ppm (parts per million).
  4. Products with the “Spiga Barrata” (a crossed ear of wheat) symbol issued by the Italian Coeliac Association (AIC).
  5. Products in the AIC handbook, which is continuously updated.
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