-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, July 4 (HealthDay News) -- Attending a Fourth of July
barbecue or picnic can be great fun for the whole family, but
parents need to take special precautions if one of their children
has celiac disease, an expert warns.
"When going to a cookout, parents with a child who is gluten-free because of celiac disease or a wheat allergy need to make sure that cross-contamination has been avoided and that they read labels carefully. Especially if gathering with a group who may not understand the particulars of a gluten-free diet," Mary Kay Sharrett, from the Celiac Disease Center at Nationwide Children's Hospital, said in a hospital news release.
Parents of a child with celiac disease should bring some
gluten-free dishes to a cookout, such as baked beans, corn on the
cob, gluten-free potato salad or a bowl of mixed berries. This will
ensure that the child has something they know is safe to eat. Bring
a gluten-free bun or get creative and use a large piece of lettuce
as a substitute for a hamburger bun, Sharrett suggested.
"Closely watch the condiments. Read the labels, and if squeeze bottles aren't being used, try to be first in line to avoid contamination from knives that have touched bread containing gluten," Sharrett said.
Parents should ask if the meat being grilled is plain. Seasoning
or soup mixes containing wheat may have been added to the meat, and
many marinades or sauces contain wheat. Be alert for meat
substitutes, such as veggie burgers. They often look like meat but
Wrap your food in foil while grilling. This is crucial if you
don't know if the grill has been cleaned, especially after
marinades containing gluten have been used or buns have been warmed
on the grill. Make sure your spatula only touches plain meats or
vegetables and doesn't get contaminated with marinade or bun
remnants on the grill.
"The long-term effect of anyone with celiac disease being exposed to gluten is damage to the intestine. Some kids experience symptoms immediately," Sharrett said. "As a result, many parents choose to eat at home in a controlled environment, but group cookouts are possible if you are cautious."
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