On Saturday I met with the owner of a Hamilton fish and chip shop. She'd asked me for advice on how to make her products gluten-free (and then how to ensure they stay gluten-free right through to serving).
The owner, whose real name I won't reveal to protect her privacy (I'll call her Jane), doesn't have food allergies but does want to be able to provide for a growing market of gluteys. She's not doing gluten-free at the moment, but knew that if she did go down that route, she'd have to do it properly.
After talking to her for a while about how to handle food 'the glutey way', it got me thinking about the many times in the past when I've felt really peeved off with a cafe who has done gluten-free badly.
By badly I mean they've mis-labelled their food as gluten-free, offered limited or no gluten-free food or inadvertently contaminated the food while serving.
This lack of knowledge of glutey-prep-and-serving-guidelines is not uncommon.
Let's be real, unless you've personally experienced glutey-induced problems or know someone who has, then it's not likely you'd know quite the level of careful food handling, preparation and serving required to do gluten-free safely.
I know Jane learnt a lot from our discussion, but surprisingly so did I.
What did I learn from talking to Jane? Eatery owners are doing their best. The mis-labeling and other dodgey glutey-food dealings are 99% caused by people not knowing how to do gluten-free properly.
So what can we do? Take responsibility for keeping ourselves safe. It's easy: stop, look and listen (just like crossing the street).
yourself from just ordering without doing your homework - assumptions could make you sick.
Have a good
at the products e.g. in the cabinet - do the gluten-free products touch the regular glutey-filled products?
Always ask the pertinent questions to ensure that gluten-free products really are gluten-free e.g. are those chips cooked in a gluten-free vat? and
to what the food handler has to say. If you don't think they've got a full understanding of gluten-free, don't risk it.