June 11, 2012

Israelis Seek Government Intervention to Help With Gluten-Free

JERUSALEM -- Israelis are increasingly producing gluten-free products to satisfy its rapidly growing population of people who suffer from celiac disease. Last week, MK Meir Shitrit of Kadima took it a step further. He introduced a bill, which was passed by the Knesset’s Labor, Welfare and Health Committee, that would subsidize gluten-free bread for the thousands who suffer from celiac disease. 

According to the proposal, the cost of gluten-free bread will be kept at a level that is never higher than that of standard bread. In addition, those who suffer from celiac disease will be reimbursed for up to NIS 500 per month per family for purchasing special food, and the income tax rates of companies that sell gluten-free food products will not go above 25 percent. 

While several countries subsidize gluten free products, many Israelis are critical of passing a law that is specific to one disease, and thus discriminatory,” even though there previous laws have passed that provided  compensation to victims of other diseases, such as disorders resulting from radiation for ringworm.

Israel is rapidly becoming a laboratory for new gluten-free products, from snack items to matzohs. Food exports of the gluten-free products are soaring, but Israel’s celiac population apparently wants more initiative fro m the government.