Wednesday, May 26, 2010

20th Anniversary Celiac Disease Foundation Conference

I was initially hesitant about attending the 20th Annual Education Conference and Food Faire organized by the Celiac Disease Foundation.  Would I learn anything new?  Would there be good exhibitors?  Fortunately the answer to both those question after having attending is a resounding yes!

The morning kicked off early with 8 a.m. registration.  I was a little daunted by the early start time, but it was made much better by the samples of gluten free Bisquick that they offered to conference attendants.  Bisquick will release the gluten free mix this summer.  I can happily report that the pancakes were great!  I also inquired about the price and was told that the mix should be at a price point similar to Betty Crocker's Gluten Free mixes.

Speakers included Dr. Peter Green from Columbia's Celiac Disease Research Center at Columbia University, Daniel C. Adelman of Alvine Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Sheila Crowe of the University of Virginia.  Dr. Green discussed the prevalence of Celiac Disease worldwide, causes for the increase in diagnoses in recent years, and the results of a Celiac eating gluten.  I enjoyed his discussion but was more interested in Dr. Adelman's; he discussed the potential treatments of Celiac Disease.  Most importantly, he stressed that his company was in no way trying to permanently replace the gluten free diet.  From his presentation that did not seem to be a viable option.  Instead, his company is aiming to create a pill similar to Lactaid which would allow Celiacs to infrequently imbibe in gluten (or use the pill in circumstances in which cross-contamination is likely).



I could go on and on about the conference -- check out the program here.  There were an enormous amount of exhibitors including Betty Crocker, Namaste Foods, Pamela's, Mary's Gone Cracker (one of my personal favorites -- the pretzels are great), So Delicious, Edward & Sons, Bard's Tale Beer Co.,  Pure Fit, and French Meadow Bakery, to name a few.

Betty Crocker was also showing off their Asian and Hamburger Helpers, both of which will soon be marked "Gluten Free" and sold in supermarkets nationwide.  I tried the Chicken Fried Rice flavor of Asian Helper -- it was delicious!  I can't wait for it to be on store shelves.

Again, there is so much more to say about the conference that I can't express in a blog post.  All in all, I'm really happy I attended and had the chance to here Dr. Green speak, meet a few readers and fellow Celiacs, and pick up tons of great samples.  I'm definitely looking forward to next year.

Do you love it or do you love it?
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Celiac Disease Foundation

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