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Children’s Hospital Colorado is a proud recipient of the GREAT Kitchens Gluten-free accreditation by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA). Children's Colorado is the first hospital in the country to pursue and achieve this status.
Collaborative effort to provide safe and delicious options
The Colorado Center for Celiac Disease (CCCD) at Children's Colorado has seen an influx of patients with gluten-related disorders, which prompted the CCCD to work closely with foodservice managers including J.P. Krause, executive chef at Children’s Colorado, to obtain the accreditation.
“Frequently, patients, families and staff with celiac disease have difficulty finding and trusting foods,” said Krause. “We want to support them by offering safe, delicious options.”
Extensive training to achieve the GREAT Kitchens stamp of approval
The process involved completing GREAT Kitchens training for managers and staff, implementing safe gluten-free protocols and verifying ingredients. Front- and back-of-house foodservice teams completed comprehensive training modules and worked closely with CCCD dietitian Marisa Dzarnoski Riley, RD CNSC to learn about celiac disease and gluten-related disorders.
In addition, the kitchen team developed methods to ensure foods marked “gluten-free” are prepared safely and with limited risk of cross-contact with other foods that contain gluten. Chef Krause spearheaded an extensive effort to verify the source of ingredients in all foods labeled “gluten-free” and continues to develop new and exciting gluten-free entrée options for the Fresh Marketplace cafeteria at Children’s Colorado’s main campus.
“From every aspect of the preparation process, the needs of children and families who must adhere to a strict gluten-free diet are taken into consideration, allowing them to feel confident in what they’re eating and reassured that it’s safe and healthy,” said Edwin Liu, MD, associate professor of pediatrics and director of the Colorado Center for Celiac Disease. “We are very proud of the work that the CCCD team and our foodservice staff are doing to expand gluten-free options for our celiac patients and all families and staff at Children’s Colorado.”
Helping kids and families adjust to and thrive with celiac disease
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes injury to the small intestine and affects approximately one in every 100 people. The CCCD at Children’s Colorado is the first center of its kind in the Rocky Mountain region and one of only a handful of programs across the nation focusing solely on pediatric celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders. With a focus on the psychosocial impacts of celiac disease, as well as the physical ones, the CCCD is helping kids and their families adjust to – and thrive with – a celiac disease diagnosis.