Inflation is out of control with an increase of 9.8%. Something that hasn’t been seen in Spain since 1985. Complete the the basket is a ‘test’ for many families, but “the most unfair of taxes” is multiplied “by three, even by four” for people suffering from a certain type of eating disorder such as celiacs, who must consume gluten-free products. “I have two children and one of them is celiac. Your basket means about 80 euros more per month. Nearly 1000 euros per year. It’s unbearablesays Rose.
“The the bread costs me 60 cents and the gluten-free one 3.60. If we move on to pasta, some spaghetti is normally worth around 60-70 cents a packet, gluten-free, or more than 2 euros. What normal economy supports this without any form of help? And I’m talking about a normal economy, common in Spain, in which a family like us, with two children, earns 2,600 euros net per month. The mortgage, electricity, gas, food… And to that add more than 1,000 euros a year to buy the products that my son, who has celiac disease, can eat.
Rosa, who lives in a city in the metropolitan area of Madrid, ponders aloud a criticism of the government: “The prices gluten-free foods are, in most cases, offensive, y no tenemos ninguna ayuda, más allá de algunos acuerdos puntuales que pueden hacer las asociaciones de celiacos con manufacturers o large surfaces… Pero son acuerdos limitados, en su cuantía y su duración, y los celiacos commen todos los días y duree toda life. Now I remember the words of Pedro Sánchez at the start of the pandemic: “No one will be left behind”. Well, I know some of them,” he said.
From the FACE (Federation of Celiac Associations of Spain) the executive is asked “attention” before “the fragility experienced by the collective celiac due to the high cost of gluten-free products”. And it is that “the report prepared by the Ombudsman in 2017 states that the group of celiac people need some kind of financial supporteither through tax deductions or through direct aid, in order to face the excessive cost that families with celiacs have to face, as is already the case in the vast majority of European countries”.
Yes, France, Italy, Greece, Belgium, Sweden, Portugal… In all these countries there is a kind of State aid for celiacs, not in Spain. And we are not talking about a small group because of its number. “There are no official statistics, because they are not given, but it is estimated that in Spain between 1 and 2% of the population has celiac diseaseCristina de Abreu, from FACE’s Quality and Food Safety department, told La Información. Between 500,000 and one million people would therefore be celiacs in our country. “What if someone from the government met us and paid attention to us? Well, we are waiting, but it is very difficult. No one has helped us so far.”
Two examples of aid for celiacs are, for example, to cite two countries in southern Europe and within the EU, those of Greece and Portugal. In our neighboring country, celiac patients up to the age of 10 have right to a supplementary invalidity allowance, A declaration proving that you have the disease is required. This aid is approximately 170 euros per year. Another economic support available is the possibility of deducting certain gluten-free food products from the income statement. In Greece, there is aid of 100 euros/month for adults and up to 150 euros/month for celiac children, accrediting the official diagnosis of the disease.
Also, celiac associations, they remember that the 80% of manufactured products may contain gluten: sausages, nougat, chocolates, sauces, fried tomatoes, dairy desserts, condiments, among others. Likewise, products considered essential in everyone’s diet, such as bread, flour, biscuits, Italian pasta, among others, must be replaced by special gluten-free products, the price of which is much higher. . People with celiac disease should follow a strict diet, completely gluten-free for life. Ingestion of small amounts, continuously, even if the patient does not show symptoms, can cause important and undesirable disorders. Without being dramatic, it is sometimes a question of “life or death”.
And Luisa knows it well. An 85-year-old woman, widow, who lives in a town in the interior of Gipuzkoa. Although she suffered from stomach and intestinal disorders throughout her life, she was not diagnosed with celiac disease until she was 70 years old. Virtually his whole life after following a gluten-containing diet when he couldn’t left him with chronic illnesses from which he will never recover. “Nobody diagnosed me and not eating properly all my life led me to suffer from osteoporosis which causes me to have “paper” bones and, although I have never drank in my life, irreversible cirrhosis of the liver. Luisa, “with a pension of 900 euros”, also suffers “the excessive prices of gluten-free products. It’s a scandal. They take advantage of our disease. And now, with everything, gluten-free products have increased again. I had to ration my bread. Society is not aware of the disease we suffer from and what it costs us. We suffer twice. Because of the disease itself and because of what our food costs .
Lately, celiacs also suffer from another problem with their gluten-free products: “shortage» on the shelves of certain departments and stores. “On the one hand there is fashion”, they tell us from FACE. “It seems that the consumption of gluten-free foods in weight loss diets is a ‘trend’, when gluten has been shown to add no nutritional characteristics to foods, only elasticity. By eating gluten-free you won’t lose weight or bloat… Also, now with the shortage issues we have, non-celiacs also monopolize gluten-free products when they disappear from stores, products containing gluten and leave without them, when for the sick they are essential, for celiacs. We have to be very clear: gluten-free products are for celiacs”.