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More Restaurants Refusing To Accommodate
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I think our gluten free celiac heyday is going to come to a sad end. I'm noticing more and more restaurants refusing to make gluten free, or being really difficult.

Bubba Gump's quit having a gluten free menu because of threats of lawsuits.

Mel's Diner in Hollywood pretty much refused to serve us saying that nothing in their restaurant was gluten free. The manager freaked out at me. The waitress came over and said she would handle it and got us a plain hamburger and some fruit. She said they were sued so the owner said no more dealing with food allergies.

There is a Mexican place that my family booked for Mother's Day tomorrow. Their website plainly states they cannot accommodate food allergies in a statement obviously written by lawyers.

CPK got rid of their gluten free menu just about a month after they came up with it.

Domino's has "gluten free" pizza but they are making no attempts at avoiding CC and saying it's not for celiacs or people with allergies.

My list of restaurants is getting smaller, not larger and that is very sad. If people get glutened they need to politely educate the restaurant, NOT threaten to sue them or worse... sue them. If I owned a restaurant I'm not sure I would accommodate celiacs either and I am one! Why should they do anything nice for us when all it's going to do is bite them in the pocketbook?

I'm very frustrated right now about this restaurant tomorrow. My little boy and I may just go to see family and not eat. Blah!

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I can't imagine suing over being glutened from eating out. It's a risk I know I take if I eat outside my house. I think a lot of us here feel the same. It's the nuts we have to worry about.

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I can't imagine suing over being glutened from eating out. It's a risk I know I take if I eat outside my house. I think a lot of us here feel the same. It's the nuts we have to worry about.

I wouldn't sue either, but people do. Even if they don't win, the restaurant must defend itself. And when people get angry they will threaten to sue. Threatening can have just as big of an impact as actually suing. Nobody wants to deal with that in their business.

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I think our gluten free celiac heyday is going to come to a sad end. I'm noticing more and more restaurants refusing to make gluten free, or being really difficult.

Bubba Gump's quit having a gluten free menu because of threats of lawsuits.

Mel's Diner in Hollywood pretty much refused to serve us saying that nothing in their restaurant was gluten free. The manager freaked out at me. The waitress came over and said she would handle it and got us a plain hamburger and some fruit. She said they were sued so the owner said no more dealing with food allergies.

There is a Mexican place that my family booked for Mother's Day tomorrow. Their website plainly states they cannot accommodate food allergies in a statement obviously written by lawyers.

Trust Me, our gluten-free heyday has yet to begin... New laws may soon cause a set back, but gluten-free will shine in the near future... As far as eating out with family, my family recognizes & accepts my health issue. They know to ask my input or I won't go... My kids learned fast, because I was the one that was most likely to pay the bill...

Bubba Gump just opened in Baltimore City, about 45 minutes from my house... I'll call there and ask if they have a Gluten Free menu?? If they don't, my friends and I will keep calling to send them a message.... Mean while I'll visit OUTBACK...

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Domino's has "gluten free" pizza but they are making no attempts at avoiding CC and saying it's not for celiacs or people with allergies.

I think this is a nice legal way of still accommodating gluten free without risks of lawsuits. It just means "at your own risk".

Far better way of dealing with the issue than just not offering gluten free at all.

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I eat out alot and I know I am taking a risk each time. Many restaurants in my town try to accommodate me and I appreciate all their efforts. If I get stung twice, I don't go back. That's my rule. Would never consider suing. I have had one Mexican restaurant refuse, therefore I don't eat there. We are responsible for ourselves.

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I tend to agree with sandsurfgirl - it's down to doctors vs lawyers, and the lawyers will win. I imagine scenes where lawyers say to food company or restaurant owners, "You promised WHAT?! Are you crazy??"

Threatening lawsuits is not only beyond rude, but stupid. Why would anyone think they could win? They are restaurants not pharmacies.

I saw that Domino's commercial, got excited then angry and offended when they said not for people with Celiac disease. But....lawyers.

I think the next step is management not even informing their staffs about the various food allergies out there, so that questions customers have about preparation won't even be answered.

Plumbago

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I think this is a nice legal way of still accommodating gluten free without risks of lawsuits. It just means "at your own risk".

Far better way of dealing with the issue than just not offering gluten free at all.

In the Domino's case, it is not just a legal disclaimer. They start with a gluten-free crust, but prepare it on the same surfaces using the same utensils as the regular ones. CC is guaranteed. There is a full discussion here.

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In the Domino's case, it is not just a legal disclaimer. They start with a gluten-free crust, but prepare it on the same surfaces using the same utensils as the regular ones. CC is guaranteed. There is a full discussion here.

Yep. Exactly. The only people who will be able to eat Domino's gluten-free pizza will be people who don't need to, those who are doing it because it's a fad or hilariously think it will make them lose weight because you know... gluten free bread is so low in calories. If gluten bothers you, don't bother with Domino's.

I've seen threats to sue plenty of times here on this very board. People are doing it thinking it will get them somewhere and it won't.

I just got CC'd by a gluten free cake I bought at Vons. I forget the brand. DS and I both got D and headaches from it. I think that lots of people are cashing in on the new trend without considering the risks for those who really need to be gluten free.

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Trust Me, our gluten-free heyday has yet to begin... New laws may soon cause a set back, but gluten-free will shine in the near future... As far as eating out with family, my family recognizes & accepts my health issue. They know to ask my input or I won't go... My kids learned fast, because I was the one that was most likely to pay the bill...

Not going isn't an option for me. My dad is dying of cancer and only has a short time to live. We decided to go to a restaurant that is an equal drive for everyone because my parents live really far away from most of us. We wanted to make it the least hassle on them as possible.

My sister came up with this idea like a week ago, so there are no other restaurants available. They are all booked up.

Usually this situation only comes up with big events. My sister's rehearsal dinner for example. The restaurant didn't have a gluten free menu and in my opinion I'd have to be a pretty arrogant person to insist that the bride choose another restaurant for her own wedding. I told the manager my situation and they made DS and me something special. Thankfully we didn't get sick.

If it's just a night going out with a few friends, then yes I wouldn't go if they couldn't get me safe food at the place.

What are the new laws that might cause a setback?

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I think this is a nice legal way of still accommodating gluten free without risks of lawsuits. It just means "at your own risk".

Far better way of dealing with the issue than just not offering gluten free at all.

Domino's Pizza is not gluten free. It is a deliberate mislabeling on the part of the vendor. It is not accommodating gluten free. It is not suitable for people on a true gluten free diet avoiding all gluten and not just casually, celiacs, or those with a medically acknowledged illness auto immune response to gluten.

Because of Domino's extremely irresponsible marketing of a non gluten free product as "gluten free," there will indeed be more lawsuits because of this, by stupid people who didn't read or understand the Domino's disclaimer, because of the idiots at NFCA who put their "amber" designation on it, and their lawyers who are always more interested in making a buck.

When I look at the big picture, this might be the long term plan of Domino's Pizza anyway, to both take out the competition by offering a mass produced product, and to ruin the market for true gluten free pizza, so everyone accepts that there supposedly cannot be gluten free pizza, because it is supposedly too difficult to make. Whether or not they succeed depends on a united message that fake Gluten Free In Name Only pizza will not be purchased. Reputable websites (like here) will not promote it.

People are going to sue anyway. There are are way too many lawyers who have too much time and nothing to do.

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Domino's Pizza is not gluten free. It is a deliberate mislabeling on the part of the vendor. It is not accommodating gluten free. It is not suitable for people on a true gluten free diet avoiding all gluten and not just casually, celiacs, or those with a medically acknowledged illness auto immune response to gluten.

Because of Domino's extremely irresponsible marketing of a non gluten free product as "gluten free," there will indeed be more lawsuits because of this, by stupid people who didn't read or understand the Domino's disclaimer, because of the idiots at NFCA who put their "amber" designation on it, and their lawyers who are always more interested in making a buck.

When I look at the big picture, this might be the long term plan of Domino's Pizza anyway, to both take out the competition by offering a mass produced product, and to ruin the market for true gluten free pizza, so everyone accepts that there supposedly cannot be gluten free pizza, because it is supposedly too difficult to make. Whether or not they succeed depends on a united message that fake Gluten Free In Name Only pizza will not be purchased. Reputable websites (like here) will not promote it.

People are going to sue anyway. There are are way too many lawyers who have too much time and nothing to do.

How are they going to make money on this pretend gluten free pizza when nobody will buy it? It's a very weird business plan for sure.

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Trust Me, our gluten-free heyday has yet to begin... New laws may soon cause a set back, but gluten-free will shine in the near future

What are the new laws that might cause a setback?

I'm not the o.p. on that, but my guess is they might be referring to the pending possibility that the FDA finally coughs up a rule change and makes a definition of what they will consider "gluten free."

Depending on how they do it, it could make things better, or it could make things even worse.

If they make it worse (remember, these are bureaucrats) then there will be this "gap phase," while we have to reconnoiter and deal with the fallout, then get them to change it to something that actually protects the health of the consumer instead of the food manufacturers who are still allowing gluten in their products at un acceptably high levels, yet using a gluten free label,which is making celiacs and gluten intolerants sick.

For one example, I am currently using a certain type of flour that is labeled 'naturally gluten free.' It took me a long time to find this, and I have to pay bupkisst beaucoup $$$ bucks for it, but I am very thrilled because THIS flour is not cross contaminated with other **** ***** ****** crap that was making me very sick. I had used all sorts of different brands, made in the United States, tested and labeled to be less than 20 ppm gluten free versions of the same grain, and kept reacting, over and over again. I knew it was cc because I can eat the product easily if it is fresh, not in a dried and milled form. Yet, under a potential version of the new labeling rules, the company might lose their ability to label. Or they might be forced to go to a more commercial, large scale production, package their products in a plant that is certified to less than 20 ppm, and here we go again with the cc. Nothing aggravates me more than trying another brand of name brand, "gluten free" flour with one of those gluten free organization's logos on the label, and ending up with a screaming migraine and ataxia after making up a little bun-in-a-cup serving as a tester.

Bureaucrats who are not celiac, gluten intolerant, or very sensitive, will not understand the impact of saying according to the latest and best science, 20 parts per million or less, should be perfectly fine for everyone. They chose the middle ground and throw out the extremes, the high end and the low ends, and they think they've solved the problem. These Codex rules in Europe, which the US might be imitating, allow a lot of wheat sourced products to be labeled gluten free, as long as they are processed to that point, and included in "gluten free foods." While technically this is "supposed" to work, I think it is a very bad idea.

The other bad news the bureaucrats do not want to deal with is the issue of these GMO's potentially causing massive allergic reactions, or auto immune reactions, when Dr. Frankenfood decides to put genes from one organism into another one, where Ms. Average Consumer at the Market least expects to find it. With all the scrambling to create more drought tolerant plants, we could end up with a real problem and genes from sunflowers and barley (and who knows what else) ending up in our "safe" grains. So far, the FDA and their former GMO industry people running it are doing the look-the-other-way, nod, and wink routine as these plants are developed in other countries and then slowly re imported back into this one, "accidentally."

Should you be concerned ? I think so. If there was not something to this bad - outcome scenario, they would not be sneaking around doing it like this. The IRONY is that Monsanto has devoted such an extraordinary amount of money and effort into creating chemicals for killing a "weed" that is actually drought tolerant, producing gluten free, edible, high protein seeds. One person's pigweed is another person's amaranth. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amaranth

The (relatively) good news is that there are more celiacs and gluten intolerants getting diagnosed, and we may be hitting a tipping point or critical mass in numbers that will become too big to ignore in the future.

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It's tricky too because of the laws are too stringent or have horrible penalties then companies just won't bother. We aren't a huge share of the market. If all the celiacs in the world quit eating out and quit eating processed foods most restaurants and food companies wouldn't feel the dent, except those who make mostly gluten free.

We need to support those who are dedicated to gluten free like Glutino and Gluten Free Pantry, Kinnikinnick, etc to keep them in business.

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I actually don't eat out anymore .. I got glutened too many times, and now I don't bother anymore because people aren't aware enough about celiac safety, and I'm usually too hungry or too embarrassed to have to explain to them why they have to change their gloves or wash their hands.. but I still have to say that suing the restaurants for making mistakes is just silly. If the staff members don't have celiac, then their minds aren't trained to be able to prevent themselves from making mistakes, specifically when they are doing things that they do 100 times a day and their brains are on autodrive. They don't live with it, and therefor not used to it, and making these mistakes is so easy in in a stressful and rushed restaurant environment.

I'm sorry to say this (I have been sortof a pessimist lately), but it's not possible for restaurants to offer a 100% safe service, and not all people are as understanding as we are.. they are going to sue, and I therefor conclude that less and less businesses will bother with providing us with their services. We're too expensive and risky to accommodate!

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I think of gluten as salmonella or any other problem encountered by handling raw meat.

That said, restaurants are trained to handle raw meat and most of the time do not kill people.

So, it is very possible to train people to take proper precautions. Willingness is another issue.

If you eat out at all you already know there are good-bet restaurants, bad-bet restaurants for gluten-free. Personally, I won't go near some places other gluten-free's eat at because I think the risk is insane; others, I'm more than happy to patronize.

So I don't think all restaurants should attempt gluten-free. I think those that do should understand what they're doing. I think the restaurants that are good at it will proceed and those that aren't, won't. The only caveat is government intervention.

Personally, I wouldn't have ordered Dominos even if the cc wasn't made so public - I would have ASSUMED cc based on the kitchen setup and nature of the business, and the fact that the pizzas are assembled on site. Ditto for Subway unless they change their line. I have eaten at ONE Chipotle (shared line) but that Chipotle does a fabulous job at gluten-free (I assume because it's a small town and they get lots of practice) and they change out utensils and pull from new bins.

Anyway, I think we will be in for some interesting times - I don't see how the bad press on Dominos is D-Day. Someone was going to be Dominos - it was inevitable.

California Puzza Kitchen and Cheesecake Factory have already pulled gluten-free menus because they can't really do it. Personally, I'm glad they pulled them if they can't do it. What worries me is that more restaurants may decide to "settle" for that Amber rating instead of trying to create a real gluten-free prep and cook area. But quite frankly, it could go either way. Amber could be good for gluten-free or it could be the worst thing. Ever. Time will tell.

But I can say, for now, I won't eat at Amber restaurants. It's my "no" list. Domino's is just a joke, IMO. All they did was formulate a new crust - They aren't even TRYING to do gluten-free.

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I don't think it's anywhere near the same thing.

The cooking process would kill most "germs" like salmonella. As long as you don't put anything cooked where anything raw was, you are good to go. Gluten in a whole different animal. Where you store it, where you cook it, when you wash your hands after touching other things and on and on. The opportunity to cross contaminate can happen at any step in the process. It isn't as simple as "raw vs. cooked".

I don't think we'll ever see the day of duel kitchens. It just isn't possible/reasonable in the business. I don't think it is because places don't care (though many don't) it is that there is a lot to learn! Every one here talks about the learning curve to going gluten-free. I don't think a part time server at Applebee's or Denny's is going to give it that much time/though.

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I don't think it's anywhere near the same thing.

The cooking process would kill most "germs" like salmonella. As long as you don't put anything cooked where anything raw was, you are good to go. Gluten in a whole different animal. Where you store it, where you cook it, when you wash your hands after touching other things and on and on. The opportunity to cross contaminate can happen at any step in the process. It isn't as simple as "raw vs. cooked".

I don't think we'll ever see the day of duel kitchens. It just isn't possible/reasonable in the business. I don't think it is because places don't care (though many don't) it is that there is a lot to learn! Every one here talks about the learning curve to going gluten-free. I don't think a part time server at Applebee's or Denny's is going to give it that much time/though.

The raw meat analogy is one most people understand. It's invisible, you don't touch raw meat to a surface (knife, cutting board) or anything that's touched raw meat (hands) without soap and water.

Yes, a griddle is a different story...but for the most part people "get it" when you say it's like raw meat.

As far as airborne gluten - well, I wouldn't eat at a mixed bakery.

You don't need dual kitchens, you just need a dedicated prep and sometimes cooking area (griddle, toaster, etc.),

I can tell if a place takes gluten-free seriously by the menu and what they tell me they can't do. Some restaurants are very very good at it.

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I can tell if a place takes gluten-free seriously by the menu and what they tell me they can't do. Some restaurants are very very good at it.

Indeedy! A place that does not know its limitations is dangerous territory. :unsure:

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I think of gluten as salmonella or any other problem encountered by handling raw meat.

That said, restaurants are trained to handle raw meat and most of the time do not kill people.

So, it is very possible to train people to take proper precautions. Willingness is another issue.

If you eat out at all you already know there are good-bet restaurants, bad-bet restaurants for gluten-free. Personally, I won't go near some places other gluten-free's eat at because I think the risk is insane; others, I'm more than happy to patronize.

So I don't think all restaurants should attempt gluten-free. I think those that do should understand what they're doing. I think the restaurants that are good at it will proceed and those that aren't, won't. The only caveat is government intervention.

Personally, I wouldn't have ordered Dominos even if the cc wasn't made so public - I would have ASSUMED cc based on the kitchen setup and nature of the business, and the fact that the pizzas are assembled on site. Ditto for Subway unless they change their line. I have eaten at ONE Chipotle (shared line) but that Chipotle does a fabulous job at gluten-free (I assume because it's a small town and they get lots of practice) and they change out utensils and pull from new bins.

Anyway, I think we will be in for some interesting times - I don't see how the bad press on Dominos is D-Day. Someone was going to be Dominos - it was inevitable.

California Puzza Kitchen and Cheesecake Factory have already pulled gluten-free menus because they can't really do it. Personally, I'm glad they pulled them if they can't do it. What worries me is that more restaurants may decide to "settle" for that Amber rating instead of trying to create a real gluten-free prep and cook area. But quite frankly, it could go either way. Amber could be good for gluten-free or it could be the worst thing. Ever. Time will tell.

But I can say, for now, I won't eat at Amber restaurants. It's my "no" list. Domino's is just a joke, IMO. All they did was formulate a new crust - They aren't even TRYING to do gluten-free.

The difference is that salmonella would affect 100% of the customers, while gluten.. let's say.. err I don't have a number, but let's say 30%? The Restaurants can make more than enough money without the required extra training and special prep methods and equipment focusing on the other 70% who are not gluten intolerant, and without having to worry about any lawsuits. Not taking precautions against salmonella would put them out of business directly, while gluten only takes the celiacs away. I don't see them caring more about our problems unless 50% of the population have celiac.. or perhaps if the owners are celiac and have a desire to go the extra mile for our sake.

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Got it Prickly!

I was also wondering how the "new laws" will change anything. I thought they were being tagged onto FALCPA which doesn't have any says in the restaurant world.

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I went to BW3 The other day with a large group of people, I asked the waiter for a gluten-free menu. He redirected me to the manager on duty which sat with me for about 10 minutes going over the whole menu with me, talking about CC and ingredients. I ended up settling on a bun-less char-grilled fillet smothered in a save sauce with a side salad. Even My husband was impressed and we have decided that we will have to come back just because of his hospitality. When he even offered to clean a fryer and replace the oil so that I can have wings. I was extremely impressed.

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The difference is that salmonella would affect 100% of the customers, while gluten.. let's say.. err I don't have a number, but let's say 30%? The Restaurants can make more than enough money without the required extra training and special prep methods and equipment focusing on the other 70% who are not gluten intolerant, and without having to worry about any lawsuits. Not taking precautions against salmonella would put them out of business directly, while gluten only takes the celiacs away. I don't see them caring more about our problems unless 50% of the population have celiac.. or perhaps if the owners are celiac and have a desire to go the extra mile for our sake.

I would be really interested in talking to the managers or whoever in charge of these decisions at few of the restaurants that do it consistently well. I'd like to find out why and how.

I find it's generally the better restaurants that do gluten-free well; upcoming chefs... If they use fresh ingredients it's very easy to do gluten-free (except bakeries). I find it's an attitude, a general feel to the place - pride in what they do and a passion for food perhaps that seems to be in common, at least on the surface?

I suspect the effort and training at a restaurant that does gluten-free well trains their employees well in general, and doing gluten-free is just easier.

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Yes, I agree - it's those who are in the food business because of passion (in addition to paying the rent) and not just to have a job. The ones who know about food naturally know about gluten.

Plumbago

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I was also wondering how the "new laws" will change anything. I thought they were being tagged onto FALCPA which doesn't have any says in the restaurant world.

While restaurants are not required to comply with FALCPA, unless they sell packaged to-go food, many comply voluntarily. The firestorm about McDonald's fries six years ago arose from their decision to voluntarily disclose the presence of a wheat-derived ingredient in the artificial beef flavor in the fry oil at the factory.

Restaurants need not disclose anything about their ingredients. But if they do choose to provide allergen information, it must be accurate and complete.

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