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The Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University recently honored Wegmans Food Markets in recognition of its gluten-free program, and raised $400,000 to support the Celiac Disease Center’s ongoing programs as well as an international symposium on Celiac Disease.

Once considered rare, an estimated 3 million Americans actually have Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disorder characterized by an intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barely. In celiac patients, gluten consumption damages the small intestine, causing malabsorption of nutrients. In children, symptoms may include gastrointestinal problems, failure to thrive, tooth discoloration, and developmental delays. In adults, celiac disease may be related to anemia, osteoporosis, thyroid disease, or infertility, as well as Type 1 diabetes and certain cancers. The only known treatment is the strict elimination from the diet of gluten.

As early as 1985, based on customer inquiries about gluten free foods, Wegmans created a booklet entitled "Gluten Sensitivity, Making a Special Diet Easier to Swallow.”

Today, Wegmans publishes a complete list of Wegmans brand products that are gluten-free. The list is available on their website: A section of Wegmans Nature’s Marketplace, its natural foods area, is dedicated to gluten-free products. In the late 90s “Wellness Keys” were introduced on Wegmans brand packaging. Wegmans brand food products that are gluten free are labeled with a “G.” Shoppers can also sign up for Fresh News e-mail on, and ask to receive information on the “celiac meal of the week,” a weekly gluten free recipe.

Colleen Wegman, Wegmans’ president, says, “In making gluten-free foods readily accessible to our customers, we hope to contribute to the good health of those with celiac disease while removing some of the stress they might ordinarily face while shopping for appropriate foods. This is Wegmans’ commitment to its customers and is central to our customer service philosophy.”
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