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Jane Anderson

October is Celiac Disease Awareness Month! Or, is It?

By October 7, 2010

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When someone first mentioned to me that October would mark Celiac Disease Awareness Month, I thought it might be a mistake - after all, we just celebrated Celiac Disease Awareness Month in May, and I doubted we'd get to do it twice a year (no matter how important I think awareness of celiac disease is!).

Some research seemed to confirm that we do indeed celebrate celiac disease awareness in May and not October. But then I started getting notices from other blogs - Bigelow Tea, for example, is recognizing "gluten freedom" in National Celiac Disease Awareness Month ... this month.  So I decided some more investigating was in order to figure out just when we should be baking our gluten-free cakes.

Mary Schluckebier of the Celiac Sprue Association set me straight on what she admitted was a fairly confusing series of events.

Apparently, Congress never has approved a resolution naming either May or October the official month for celiac disease awareness. Between 1987 and 2008, Canada named October its official Celiac Disease Awareness Month, and private groups in the U.S. simply tagged along.

In 2009, however, Canada moved Celiac Disease Awareness Month to May in order to conform with official celiac awareness month designations in Italy and other European countries. Some private celiac groups followed suit. But since Congress hasn't set official U.S. policy for celebrating celiac awareness month, other groups stuck with October for their celiac awareness activities.

The U.S. Senate voted unanimously in August to name Sept. 13, 2010 as National Celiac Disease Awareness Day. But there's still no action on an official celiac disease month.

That's not stopping the Celiac Sprue Association, which celebrates in both May and October. "Every month should be celiac disease awareness month," Mary told me.

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