A radio segment has left celiac disease patients outraged after an alleged baker, who did not identify what bakery she reportedly works at, said on-air that she sometimes lies to customers about baked goods being gluten-free.
The alleged confession came during Z107.7 St. Louis’ segment called “Dirty Little Secret.” The station also shared a quote picture of the caller’s claims on their Facebook page, where additional viewers weighed in with concerns.
“If I eat something that has been cross-contaminated I get extremely dizzy,” Kara Meyers, a concerned viewer, posted in part. “It gets so bad that sometimes I can’t even walk. Next comes the heartburn followed by vomiting. Every single time this happens I wake up from a dead sleep throwing up in my sleep. It is both terrifying and disgusting. Then comes the horrible stomach cramps followed by a headache and intense drowsiness. A SMALL amount of gluten is like a sedative to me. The last time I was cross contaminated I slept for 18 hrs straight.”
Meyers continued to explain that eating a piece of bread with gluten would land her in the hospital, and criticized the caller for thinking it “isn’t a big deal.”
“Would you feed peanuts to someone you knew was allergic to them? How about shellfish? I walk around with the knowledge every single day that my body is in a constant battle with itself,” she wrote. “It’s exhausting. And then to know that people are willing and gleeful to hurt me and other people with this disease is somewhat heart wrenching.”
For patients with celiac disease, gluten can trigger an immune response that attacks the small intestine, leaving damage that affects nutrient absorption. If left untreated, celiac can lead to other autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis or even infertility, neurological conditions or cancers.
According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, the only treatment for the disease is to maintain a gluten-free diet.
Dana Smith, who was diagnosed with celiac disease, was listening to the segment on-air while on her way to work.
“I was fuming, I was infuriated,” she told Fox 2 Now. “It’s absolutely dangerous, somebody could get very sick.”
Dr. Reuben Aymerich, a physician at St. Clare Hospital, told the news outlet that patients must be “100 percent compliant,” about living gluten-free.
“I just want awareness for people that are ignorant to the disease,” Smith, who took to Facebook to alert the St. Louis celiac disease community, said.