PAOLI, Pa. (CBS) – As many as two million Americans suffer from celiac disease — they’re unable to digest gluten, which is found in bread, pasta, beer, and other common foods.

Now, a Chester County supermarket is spearheading a new effort to make shopping a little easier for them, and for their families.

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Three gleaming meat-and-cheese slicers in a special deli section at the Amce supermarket, at Routes 30 and 252 in Paoli, will never cut a product that has the offending protein.

Behind the counter, Acme’s Dennis Clark says workers change gloves and shift to the specially marked section whenever a gluten-free item is ordered.

“There’s a lot of training that we’ve done with our associates,” he tells KYW Newsradio.  “The product has to be handled separately, the equipment has to be cleaned and sanitized separately.”

Dietz & Watson, the lunchmeat company, is stocking the gluten-free deli case.  President Louis Eni says they make hundreds of products that have always been gluten-free.

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“It’s just another component to a healthy lifestyle and to a healthy deli section,” he says.

And, there’s a selection of approved breads and condiments right below to help construct a sandwich that’s as mouth-watering as it is digestible for those with celiac disease.

Dennis Clark, with Acme parent company Supervalu, expects the idea to take off at more supermarkets.

“Right now, this is a big need for a lot of individuals that there’s no solution out there.  Our goal is to be that solution — provide for them the food they want, the taste they want, at a price that’s affordable for them,” he said today.


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Reported by Ian Bush, KYW Newsradio 1060