Gluten-Free Diet Questions to Ask in Restaurants
By Lana Bandoim
After a long week filled with disappointments and busy work schedules, eating out can provide relief and a break from a hot kitchen. However, if you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, then eating out can be a challenge. You have to make sure that the food is safe for people on a gluten-free diet. Consider the following questions the next time you are in a restaurant and need gluten-free food.
Is the Food Gluten-Free and Safe for Celiac Disease?
This may seem like an obvious question, but some menus do not make it clear if the food is actually safe for celiac disease and free from gluten. In addition, some staff members in restaurants may not know about celiac disease and may not be able to explain the ingredients. Make sure you ask multiple questions before placing an order.
Is the Gluten-Free Food Cooked Separately?
Unfortunately, some restaurants have small kitchens with limited space. It is common for staff and chefs to share fryers and counter space. For example, french fries may be prepared in the same fryer as tater tots and burger patties. This can create a problem for people with celiac disease who are on the gluten-free diet. It is important to remember that high heat cannot kill gluten or make it disappear, so shared fryers can be a serious problem.
Ask questions to determine if the gluten-free food is prepared separately from other dishes in the kitchen. Make sure you find out about shared fryers. In addition, consider asking them to change gloves and use separate utensils to prepare your meal. Some restaurants do this for all gluten-free orders to reduce cross-contamination.
How Is the Gluten-Free Diet Communicated to Staff?
Some restaurants make this easy by using different plate colors for gluten-free food. Others make sure the orders are labeled correctly, so staff members are aware that the person has celiac disease and eating gluten will hurt them. You may also visit restaurants that rely on managers to take over special diet requests. Make sure the entire table is aware of how the gluten-free diet is communicated to staff.
Before ordering food in a restaurant, consider these questions if you are on the gluten-free diet and have celiac disease. Contamination with gluten is a serious problem in many kitchens, so it is important to ask questions and make sure the food is safe before eating it.
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