Don’t Pick Off The Croutons
How To Be Allergen and Gluten- Free Conscious
People in the service industry are asking, how much can a crumb really affect someone with celiac disease? The answer is, a lot. A restaurant is a high volume space with a constant flow of people who are all ordering their own individual items. Food service professionals are doing all they can to clean self serve stations, bus tables and avoid cross contamination every day from a slow Monday afternoon to a Saturday dinner shift. It’s inevitable though, sometimes crumbs are hard to get to. So what are some of the do’s and don’ts when being conscious of gluten-free and allergen requests, and how can you do your part?
First, learn the facts about celiac disease and food allergens. Celiac disease is an autoimmune digestive disorder that causes a reaction when someone ingests even a trace amount of gluten. A Food Allergy is an immune system reaction to a particular substance or particle of food. Both should be treated seriously and both can trigger a response with even a small amount of the food the body is reacting to.
Second, understand what a trace amount is. According to the FDA, a trace amount of gluten is defined as 20ppm (parts per million) or more. This can be compared to a drop of food coloring in a gallon of water. This means that, yes, if ingested a crumb can be harmful to those with celiac disease.
Last, but certainly not least, do your part to prevent a reaction. Train everyone on your staff about celiac disease and food allergies. Make sure to avoid cross contact and cross contamination in all stages of food preparation and serving guests. Don’t just pick off the croutons, if someone has asked for a gluten free meal and it was made incorrectly, start over.
Celiac disease, food allergies and food sensitivities / intolerances are no joke. It’s better to be safe than sorry and you’ll see that those guests with special needs will become repeat customers!