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  • Jefferson Adams

    Can You Really Eat Gluten-Free at Buffalo Wild Wings? Probably Not.

    Jefferson Adams
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    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.   eNewsletter: Get our eNewsletter

      Buffalo Wild Wings offers an Allergen and Preparation guide. But is the food really gluten-free?

    Can You Really Eat Gluten-Free at Buffalo Wild Wings? Probably Not.
    Caption: Buffalo Wild Wings. Image: CC BY 2.0--JeepersMedia

    Celiac.com 01/16/2020 - Gluten-free eater beware! Don't get fooled by fake gluten-free menus (and fake news!). Just because a company posts clear allergen and gluten-free listings on their menu doesn't mean that the food is reliably allergen or gluten-free and safe to eat.

    That point was driven home recently when an article from a seemingly reliable source, and a glance at the gluten-free listings on the menu at Buffalo Wild Wings, made it seem that their food was safely gluten-free. However, after reading fine print buried in their website, we discovered a different tale.

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    Listing gluten-free items on a menu but not preparing them in a gluten-free manner can cause confusion, and can be dangerous, not just for those with celiac disease, but especially those who might get anaphylactic allergic reactions to allergens on such "free from" menus.

    [The original article begins here. It has been corrected to reflect the fact that Buffalo Wild Wings uses shared fryers and is unlikely to be gluten-free as prepared.]

    Thankfully, Buffalo Wild Wings makes it easy to find out which menu items contain allergens by using its handy Allergen and Preparation Guide, which can be found on its website. Not only does it list which menu items contain wheat and/or gluten, it also outlines those containing egg, fish, milk, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts and items fried in beef shortening.

    Wheat and gluten are the last allergens listed so it can be a little confusing to follow the dots all the way across the guide. Many items appear to be free of wheat or gluten.

    Here's a link to the Buffalo Wild Wings Allergen and Preparation Guide. Be sure to read the fine print.

    Here’s everything on the Buffalo Wild Wings menu that contains no wheat or gluten:

    • All-beef hamburger patty
    • Burgers and more
    • Buffalo loaded tots with mild, medium or hot
    • Blazin’ sauce
    • Bourbon honey mustard sauce
    • Buffalo chips
    • Buffalo seasoning
    • Caribbean jerk sauce
    • Cheese: American, blue, cheddar, cheddar jack, pepper jack, queso and Swiss
    • Chicken
    • Chipotle BBQ seasoning
    • Chili queso dip with tortilla chips
    • Chips and salsa
    • Desert heat seasoning
    • Dressings: Blue cheese, light Caesar, ranch, fat free ranch, southwestern ranch, lemon vinaigrette
    • French fries
    • Grilled chicken breast
    • Honey BBQ sauce
    • Hot sauce
    • Hot BBQ sauce
    • Kids’ menu
    • Lemon pepper seasoning
    • Mango habanero sauce
    • Medium sauce
    • Mild sauce
    • Naked chicken tenders
    • Parmesan garlic sauce
    • Salt and vinegar seasoning
    • Sauces/Dry rubs
    • Shareables
    • Spicy garlic sauce
    • Sweet BBQ sauce
    • The whole enchilada traditional wings
    • Toppings: Bacon, avocado, ketchup, yellow mustard and loaded chili
    • Traditional wings
    • Ultimate nachos (with or without chicken)
    • Wild sauce

    Note: No salads are gluten-free without modifications. Also, whenever eating out there is always a risk of cross-contamination, so eating here may not be suitable for everyone.

    At a glance, this menu might seem to offer gluten-free items, but a close read of the top portion carries the following red flag: [Because of] "shared cooking and preparation areas in our kitchens, and cooking procedures, we cannot eliminate the risk of cross-contact or guarantee that any item is free of any allergen and no items are certified as gluten-free..." Buried further in their site we found:

    • "We do not use separate fryers; due to this use of shared fryers there is the potential for allergen cross-contact between fried foods."

    So always be sure to double- and triple-check, because it's easy to make a mistake, or be fooled by what seem like gluten-free listings. Anyone with celiac disease knows that accidental wheat consumption can come with unpleasant, and sometimes serious consequences. So, check your sources, read menus carefully, ask questions and be diligent.


    Note: This article was originally published on 01/16/2020 and was revised after we discovered that shared fryers and other contamination issues exist in their kitchens.

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    Buffalo Wild Wings clearly states that there is cross contamination. It is not safe for a person with celiac to eat there. Why in the world would you post this article. I hope no one goes there and gets sick!

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    Did you get paid by BWW to write this?  How is BWW safe for someone with Celiac Disease?  They are very clear on all the risks if cross contamination.  I don't come to Celiac.com for articles that sound like they are for people who are trying to avoid gluten because they are choosing to be on a gluten free diet.  BWW does not sound like a safe place to eat for someone with Celiac Disease.

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    How can you say it’s safe with all those shared fryers? It’s not safe for any person with celiac disease to go here. This post needs to be removed. A celiac expert “reviewed” this post? Doubtful. 

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    When I was diagnosed with Celiac, BWW in my area told me to not bother eating there because I would probably get sick from cross contamination. If the establishment tells me this, how can you, in good conscience, pit this article out on a celiac website! Your reputation really takes a hit with stuff like this. Shame on you.

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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 2,500 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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