More ‘Facts’ from the Daily Mail

Ah, another food sensitivity article from a national, this time the Mail. It’s boring and tells us nothing new, but manages to make mistakes while doing so. Spotting the inaccuracies in such stories can feel as challenging as looking for hay in a haystack, but here we go anyway.

“[coeliac disease] … is not a contagious illness but is often genetic. Coeliac disease affects one person in every thousand.”

No, it is always genetic and it affects one in every hundred.

“Unlike classic allergies, if you are allergic to wheat….”

But wheat allergy is a classic allergy…

“The only proper diagnosis for wheat intolerance is a test called a food challenge, carried out in a hospital. The patient is blindfolded and tested for wheat under controlled conditions.”

No, the proper diagnosis for wheat intolerance is achieved through an elimination diet. A food challenge is a gold standard for a food allergy. I’d always understood that food challenges for intolerances were rarely used as they were difficult and time consuming. Any allergists or dietitians reading care to help or enlighten?

Elsewhere, the writer omits to clarify the gluten-in-oats situation and omits blood testing for coeliac disease – an essential first screening.

There are no links to further information or support groups.

I’d really like to know why it’s so hard to get some of this stuff right. 1% of the population has coeliac disease – the Coeliac UK website can confirm that with two clicks. Where does the figure one in a thousand come from?

Food Allergy and Intolerance Week is looming. I expect more of this stuff as the bandwagon press releases start rolling in and journalists who are at best pressed for time and confused and at worst disinterested and lazy respond by churning out filler like this.

ETA: This has been edited on 15th January to correct a previous error.

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