Those with Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance have likely heard the term “Gluten Friendly”. As a result we are seeing it being used more in fast food & restaurants globally. So what exactly does it mean?
This is a term used commonly by restaurants and bakeries that specialize in gluten-containing foods, while also offering options that do not contain gluten & wheat ingredients.
A good example of this would be IHOP Gluten Friendly Pancakes.
What Does Gluten Friendly Mean?
Gluten Friendly is a term used to imply that food may not be gluten free, and is prepared in the same kitchen as gluten-containing foods. It is a term created for use to protect restaurants in situations that may lead to negative gluten contamination to diners.
In restaurant settings, dietary restrictions, food allergies and sensitivities require a high level of communication. Those with Celiac Disease understand this can be difficult in any setting, let alone a restaurant.
Understanding the difference between gluten free and gluten friendly is good practice if either are present on a menu.
Some would classify a gluten friendly menu as okay for those with a mild gluten sensitivity or wheat intolerance. It would not be okay for those with Celiac Disease, in most cases.
It is important that restaurant staff, including both kitchen and wait staff understand the protocols behind their gluten friendly and gluten free foods offered. This would include:
- Preparation processes
- Surfaces/equipment safety
- Ingredients used
Some locations may have ingredient lists available and these should be easily accessible to verify no hidden gluten is present when requested.
It is recommend not assuming because it is on a gluten friendly menu that it is gluten-free. Gluten friendly is not often safe for a Celiac. You should always ask questions and triple check protocols are in place for cross contamination prevention.
Searching for extra safety precautions while dining in restaurants? Equip yourself, a family member or a friend with this handy Gluten Free Dining Card, created for Celiacs, by a Celiac!
Finally, someone actually talking about the gluten friendly struggles!