Wednesday, January 8, 2014

FDA Urges Restaurants To Comply With Gluten-Free Regulations






ARE WE EXCITED, EH?
      
WHAT'S THIS MEAN?  
    
WHAT WILL ACTUALLY HAPPEN?

The FDA follow up announcement was shared with me via Celiac.com and I am very excited about this update, albeit FDA has passed no laws! This additional clarification puts a well needed pressure on the restaurant industry to be completely accountable for their gluten-free menus options. I've lived in NY, NJ and Colorado and have visited dozens of states in search for restaurants with legitimate, safe gluten-free options finding a 99.9% failure rate. Have you given in to the typical, irresponsible gluten-free menus before?


RESTAURANTS HAVE NO GLUTEN REGULATION
Restaurants took the gluten-free trending request for meals and realized they should get in on the action and make profits.  In turn they have offered cross contaminated gluten-free meals almost everywhere.  Some restaurants label the most ridiculous foods gluten-free such as fruit or salads without clarifying that it's also contaminated in their kitchen because there is no separate kitchen line that for allergen-type-of-concerns where they also may slice bread. Some restaurants cook gluten-free pasta in contaminated boiling water. Some restaurants create sandwiches with gluten-free bread options, but the bread is toasted in the same toaster as all breads! And another common issue is the same chefs don't even change their gloves, aprons or any utensils and pots and pans when making gluten-free meals. It got better recently as some restaurants say they have taken classes or certified to avoid contamination, but still won't guarantee gluten-free meals, they just can't guarantee it so how is it gluten-free? Please tell me, lol. 

FDA GLUTEN-FREE REGULATION WILL INCUR CHANGES
When the FDA regulation goes into effect in August 2014 there will be a mandatory regulation holding all packaged goods accountable for their products to be independently tested for <20 ppm or suffer consequences. This is a great step forward and therefore restaurants are in turn supposed to their own dishes or segregate enough foods in the kitchen so that food is gluten-free or there will be consequences. However, how realistic is that for the small or large busy kitchens? Here are my top concerns about all of this. However, I do maintain optimism, and will indeed challenge restaurants to be more accountable. This is for not just Celiacs, but all gluten intolerant and those on a gluten-free trending diet plan. We must all demand these changes and hold establishments accountable.

NEGATIVE CHANGES


  • Restaurants remove all gluten-free claims and disclaimers entirely from menus and websites due to being scared of repercussions of lawsuits
  • Restaurants deter customers from ordering gluten-free and won't serve them at all
  • Restaurants make patrons sign waivers that claiming that the establishment is not held responsible for gluten-free symptoms if patrons stay to eat

@GLUTEN-FREEG SUGGESTIONS


  • Restaurants realize their offerings are mostly gluten-free and go all in creating 100% dedicated gluten-free facility and therefore claim gluten-free
  • Restaurants create two separate kitchens to serve all dietary needs carefully including gluten-free and chefs test products for gluten during cooking batches