5 Important Question Everyone Should Ask When Eating Out Gluten Free
Eating out at restaurants can be a challenge for those with gluten intolerance. There was a recent study done that found 1/3 of gluten free meals at restaurants actually contain gluten. It is so important when eating out that you ask very specific questions, and dont stop until you get specific answers. Many restaurants will try to persuade you with confident statements like “we serve tons of gluten free meals and no one has gotten sick” or “don’t worry, we do this all the time” or “we are really good with gluten free” In my experience in the last 12 years, those answers aren’t good enough. Being persistent to find out the progress and procedures for food is prep is key.
Here are a few important questions you can ask the chef or manager the next time you dine out.
1. Where is your gluten free food prepared? And on what equipment?
A kitchen may not have a dedicated gluten free prep area, but you need to be assured your food is prepared on a clean surface and cooked in clean pots and pans.
If something is prepared on the grill or griddle, be sure to ask if anything with gluten has also touched. If so, requested food to be cooked on a clean pan on the stove top.
2. Are you getting the ingredients for my meal from the back cooler or a separate area?
It is very important that the ingredients used for your meal has not been in cross contact with gluten containing ingredients. Ask very detailed questions about if the ingredients are coming from a shared line. Always request that the ingredients used for your food comes from the back-up cooler or the fridge/storage in the back. The most prevalent place you will find problems with this issue is pizza restaurants. They typically use the ingredients on the prep line for gluten free pizzas, this causes a huge risk for those that are very sensitive to gluten.
3. Can you please have the person prepping my meal and handling my meal wash their hand and put on clean gloves? And a new apron if possible?
This is pretty straightforward, but so important that hands are washed with soap and water as that is the only way to clean the gluten protein from hands or a surface. Gluten most often resides on aprons and clothing, so it’s important to have a clean apron if possible.
4. Have the ingredients been thoroughly checked to ensure they are gluten free?
Many times food service just assumed a ingredient is gluten free without doing their homework. Be sure that they have checked all the labels thoroughly, and if necessary called the manufacture. If you really want to be sure, ask to see the label yourself.
5. When the meal is brought out, ask to confirm that you have a gluten free meal?
You’d think this sounds like a silly question , but you’d be surprised how easy this misunderstanding can happen. I once dined at an Italian restaurant and did not ask this question, 4 hours later I was throwing up my meal as they served me gluten pasta.
We hope this is a helpful resource to keep you enjoying food and dining safe.
- Becky Merryman