Despite the widespread objection to the BBC Food and Drink feature on food intolerance that I blogged about earlier this week, the BBC continue to stand by their assertion that they thought the feature was balanced.
Their response was as follows:
This was one of our opinion pieces in which William Sitwell offers his own personal, at times controversial, viewpoint on the subject of food intolerances. He said he believes some are real and dangerous, but that others seem like fads. He makes it clear there are differences and this is his own view point. We did balance what was said by William in his film – during the studio discussion it’s made very clear there is a difference between intolerance and allergies, and the serious nature of such allergies. And if it came across that all food intolerances were to be treated as if they weren’t serious this wasn’t the intention either. We just wanted to discuss how modern day eating habits have changed and the challenges this gives the food industry.
The BBC missed the point that many coeliacs, including myself, made – that they didn’t mention coeliac disease at all, which is neither an allergy nor a food intolerance, but an autoimmune disease. So, they have done nothing to correct the erroneous information that the programme put across – that either you have a faddy fake “food intolerance”, in which case you don’t deserve to be taken seriously by the food industry, or an allergy, which does merit some consideration. Thank you for your concessions, oh great Michelin-star chefs.
I’m disappointed that the BBC didn’t apologise for not mentioning coeliac disease. I felt that any feature on food intolerance or allergy should have done, and should have made it absolutely clear that if you get someone coming into your restaurant saying that they are coeliac and need a gluten free meal, you should be making damn sure that’s what that person gets.
The BBC made a fair point that our eating habits have changed in the present day, and I’m sure this does present a challenge to the food industry. But shouldn’t they be ahead of the curve on this one? The modern kitchen is full of weird and wonderful gadgets to make foams and gels, even flavoured air, and yet they’re saying that it’s cooking gluten free that presents the challenge, when these are some of the greatest foodie innovators in the world?
I’m sorry BBC, I just don’t buy it.