Gouda to have gluten-free Piet at Sinterklaas arrival

The Sinterklaas parade in Gouda this year will include a gluten-free Zwarte Piet. This Piet will hand out gluten-free sweets to children with gluten intolerance. A green flag with the gluten-free logo will be strapped to his back so that he is easy to recognize, AD reports.

The gluten-free Zwarte Piet is an initiative by Monique Steevens, who performed the role herself at Sinterklaas' arrival in Zwolle last year. Both her children are gluten intolerant. "It was so popular that in collaboration with the Nederlandse Coeliakie Vereniging it was decided to have a gluten-free Zwarte Piet in more municipalities. Gouda is one of the first cities in the Netherlands to sign up for it", Steevens said to the newspaper.

Around 1 percent of the Dutch population has a form of gluten intolerance, according to Steevens. In serious cases, ingesting gluten can cause a number of health problems, including prolonged stomach ache. "That's why children with gluten intolerance could not take anything from Zwarte Piet, and that was very sad of course."

Gluten-free Piet's snacks will be carefully pre-packaged in small plastic bags so that there can be no mix up with the gluten varieties. 

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