ST. LOUIS – People with celiac disease were angered during a morning radio show segment.
Dana Smith said she was listening to Z1077 on her radio when the show went to a segment called “Dirty Little Secret.” A listener called in and said she worked at a bakery and lied to customers by telling them there was no gluten in the baked goods when there actually was.
“I was fuming, I was infuriated,” Smith said.
Smith cannot eat gluten because she has celiac disease, which causes horrible intestinal and skin problems. What got Smith even angrier was the caller joked about people who skip gluten.
“It’s absolutely dangerous, somebody could get very sick,” she said.
Doctors said it’s vital for patients to remain gluten-free.
“So, it’s not like diabetes where you can reduce the amount of sugar take and make up for it later, it’s thought you need to be 100 percent compliant if you can,” said Dr. Reuben Aymerich, SSM St. Clare Hospital.
Smith went on the web to alert the celiac disease community in St. Louis. She said people who remain gluten-free are often the target of jokes and insults. Instead of taking the radio station to task, she used the incident to teach everyone.
“I just want awareness for people that are ignorant … to the disease,” she said.
At Gluten Free at Last Bakery in Maryville, Illinois, owner Mary Michals has celiac disease. She said it’s time people became more respectful.
“I wouldn’t make fun of you if you had diabetes or a heart condition it’s kind of like that,” Michals said.
We may never know if the radio station caller’s story was true. The Z1077 morning team posted a comment later in the day, saying they did not intend to offend anyone, that they take the disease seriously. One host said his mom has celiac disease.