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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Café Requires Doctor's Note for Gluten-free Food

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Caption: Image: CC--bora_dan

    Celiac.com 09/08/2016 - A café in Ireland has stirred controversy after claiming that customers requesting gluten-free food will be required to present a doctor's note, proving they have celiac disease or a medical condition that makes gluten-free food necessary.

    The White Moose Café in Dublin's Phibsborough neighborhood has stirred controversy in the past after banning vegans for writing negative reviews about the café. Now, say the owners of the café, guests who demand gluten-free food will need to produce a doctor's note stating that they suffer from celiac disease.

    A post on the company's Facebook reads:

    "This morning a girl asked us if we did gluten-free pancakes and when we asked her if she was a celiac, she didn't even know what the word meant and then proceeded to order regular, gluten-rich pancakes anyway.
    From now on, guests who demand gluten-free food are required to produce a doctor's note which states that you suffer from celiac disease.
    Guests following a gluten-free fad, who don't even know what gluten is, can cop the f#%@ on and eat regular food like everybody else."

    Well, that's one way to deal with gluten-free fad dieters. Smartly played, or misguided?

    Source: Newstalk.com

    Edited by Jefferson Adams


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    As an older woman who had the symptoms of Celiac disease as early as 10 years old, and was just officially diagnosed 7 years ago, I can tell you that it is dangerous for those of us with the disease to request gluten-free foods from a restaurant that isn't prepared to provide it. Cross-overs of foods can easily occur and cause terrible, long-term symptoms. So the restaurant owner/staff need to recognize this and tell their customers they aren't equipped to provide a gluten-free menu. And officially post it so those with the disease can go elsewhere where there has been an effort made to accommodate the condition, for the sake of their health. I can't condemn the restaurant. Cooking and maintaining a completely gluten-free kitchen is not easy.

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    What about all of us that were never officially diagnosed but accepted being gluten-intolerant simply because we had already taken gluten out of our diets and decided not to eat it just to get a diagnosis when we know what the issue is?! I'd have to just get up and leave such a place! I suppose a banana and orange form the local grocery store is better than nothing! This is incredibly scary when thinking about planning a trip to Ireland next year and having places wanting me to PROVE my issues?

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    Those who are mindlessly following a fad make it much harder for those with real celiac disease or gluten intolerance! In some ways I do not blame the restaurant for getting fed up with fad followers!

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    If I had gone to that café when I was in Dublin in May I would have been out of luck. My doctor is in California.

    I traveled with Bob and Ruth's gluten-free Travel Club so I could be sure gluten-free food was at every meal.

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    Any establishment purveying food should make a decision regarding whether or not to provide gluten-free options to customers. I think it's fine for a restaurant or cafe to decide not to provide this kind of service; it's their business and their choice. However, to pejoratively comment and demand a doctor's note in order to provide such a service is not only unkind, it's unwise from a business standpoint. I would not visit such an establishment on principle - not only because I medically require a gluten-free diet, but also because the spirit of goodwill is missing. This is quite sad and unnecessary. So what, if some people think eating gluten-free is a passing "health fad." To those who are not coeliac or do not have gluten/wheat sensitivity, perhaps that is what it is. In any event, how to eat is a person's choice. This cafe owner is failing to recognize the value of his customers. Perhaps he - and many others - will learn and do better in the future.

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    I think it's great. Honestly, I'm tired of people thinking I'm on the gluten free fad and not understanding the seriousness of celiac disease. If a restaurant has to make special concessions for a celiac meal, it should be for a celiac, not someone who thinks it sounds cool.

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    People like the women in the article are what makes it extremely tough for celiacs. Having said that, if a restaurant does not want to provide food for every customer under the sun, it is their right. There are just some places we cannot eat, understand and move on.

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    In the years since my diagnosis, I have only been to two restaurants that serve gluten-free food. I have asked many restaurants if they have a celiac safe kitchen, not just gluten-free menus. All but the two I have been to said "No". I thank them and turn and walk away.

    It is their business and they can run it the way they please. I'd just prefer to see gluten-free restaurants; I don't feel safe eating in a mixed kitchen anyway.

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    I get annoyed by fad followers as much as the next coeliac, but I don't think this is the right way to go about it. Funnily enough, I don't carry my diagnosis papers everywhere I go and nor does any other coeliac I know. This cafe sounds like it's fishing for controversy attention more than anything else.

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    What about all of us that were never officially diagnosed but accepted being gluten-intolerant simply because we had already taken gluten out of our diets and decided not to eat it just to get a diagnosis when we know what the issue is?! I'd have to just get up and leave such a place! I suppose a banana and orange form the local grocery store is better than nothing! This is incredibly scary when thinking about planning a trip to Ireland next year and having places wanting me to PROVE my issues?

    Ireland restaurants are very receptive to the gluten free diet. You need not be worried. All you have to do is ask!!

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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