Survey principal investigator Seong Shin (left) discusses his survey findings with supervisors Dr Kirsten Coppell and Associate Prof Michael Schultz. Photo by Linda Robertson.
A survey of central city Dunedin eateries offering
gluten-free options shows three-quarters did not have the
food-handling policies in place to ensure they were
Dunedin School of Medicine fourth-year student Seong Shin
will present the findings of his survey of 90 chefs to the
Gut Health Network public research forum in Dunedin today.
The survey appeared to show it was not safe for those with
coeliac disease to eat out in Dunedin, Mr Shin said.
While all 90 of the chefs' eateries had gluten-free options,
only 22 had policies in place to ensure food was definitely
Necessary measures included using separate chopping boards,
separate equipment such as toasters, checking ingredients
properly, and careful storage practices.
However, the survey found trainee Dunedin chefs had a much
greater awareness of food preparation issues for coeliac
The survey also found that 30% of chefs aged over 50 had
never heard of the disease, while 100% of those aged under 30
had. Study co-supervisor and gastroenterologist Associate
Prof Michael Schultz said eating even a small amount of
gluten could adversely affect health, potentially cancelling
out the strict diet a coeliac disease sufferer followed
Consuming gluten could lead to iron loss, anaemia, weight
loss, and in extremely rare cases lymphoma.
Co-supervisor Dr Kirsten Coppell, of the Edgar National
Centre for Diabetes and Obesity Research, said the food
industry needed better monitoring and more education.
Prof Schultz is the director of the Gut Health Network, a
University of Otago initiative launched last year to
stimulate research. A New Zealand first, it now had about 30
One of its aims is greater collaboration between various
fields of research.
The network linked patients, researchers, and commercial
health entities, he said.
It is expected participants in gut health related studies
will attend the forum, to which the general public is
invited, at the Hunter Centre.