The Association of European Coeliac Societies - also known as AOECS - is the umbrella organisation of European national coeliac societies with currently 37 Full Member societies across Europe. AOECS represents people who are affected by coeliac disease or dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) and seeks to collaborate with international coeliac organisations worldwide.
The Association is actively involved in several international initiatives to raise awareness of coeliac disease and to promote research into the diagnosis and management of this illness.
- to represent its member associations at an international level, particularly with European and international institutions
- to work for the best possible safety, availability and labelling of foods and products suitable for people intolerant to gluten
- to foster multi-national research projects on coeliac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis Duhring
- to coordinate the exchange of information related to the coeliac condition, gluten intolerance, dermatitis herpetiformis Duhring and the suitable diet and work for the social welfare of all people affected by these conditions
- to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and skills, particularly among new and developing national coeliac societies to promote the social condition and work for the social welfare of the people affected by the coeliac condition, gluten intolerance and dermatitis herpetiformis Duhring
In 1992, AOECS received observer status for the Codex Alimentarius Commission - an organization consisting of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) with the task to adopt standards as guidelines for food legislation in the various countries. AOECS participates regularly at the sessions of the Codex Alimentarius Commission and several Codex standards and guidelines to protect the gluten intolerant population have been modified and improved since.
Some of the aims which have been successfully achieved:
- all gluten containing ingredients must be labelled without exception
- naturally gluten free foods must be kept gluten free: no gluten coating or usage of gluten due of technological reasons
- no transfer of genes known to elicit gluten sensitive enteropathy in GMO foods