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    Jefferson Adams

    Man Sues T.G.I. Fridays Over Allergic Reaction to Non-Gluten-Free Hamburger Bun

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      A Virginia man is suing T.G.I. Fridays after suffering a life-threatening allergic reaction from a hamburger bun he thought was gluten-free.


    Caption: Image: CC BY-SA 3.0--Greekislands2

    Celiac.com 09/05/2019 - A Virginia man is suing T.G.I. Fridays after suffering a life-threatening allergic reaction from a hamburger bun he thought was gluten-free. In May 2018, Randall Collier visited the T.G.I. Fridays in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for dinner, and told the waitstaff several times he had a “life-threatening gluten allergy."

    Collier then ordered a gluten-free hamburger from the gluten-free menu, and when the hamburger was served, he inquired again about the bun being gluten-free, according to the suit. The waitstaff assured Collier that the bun was gluten-free, the suit states.

    After just a single bite of the bun, Collier “immediately went into anaphylactic shock, resulting in injuries, medical treatment and damages,” according to the lawsuit Collier filed in Horry County, SC, against T.G.I. Fridays and Atlantic Coast Dining, Inc.

    According to the suit, the restaurant's kitchen manager claims the waitstaff failed to request a gluten-free hamburger bun for Collier's order.

    The lawsuit accuses T.G.I. Fridays of negligence, creating a dangerous condition for Collier, and misrepresenting the food they served him.

    A statement by T.G.I. Fridays reads: “This is a franchise location and we cannot speak on their behalf.”


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    That poor guy!  It’s better for restaurants to not offer gluten free if they are not going to train their staff properly to take food allergy requests seriously.  This case was so blatantly irresponsible of the restaurant staff.  I hope Randall Collier wins a proper settlement and it sends the message to restaurants to only offer gluten free if they are going to take it seriously.

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    I hope he wins this suit. I grew up in Myrtle and I will tell you, yes, it's a tourist town and they just don't have time to care. But I hope this man wins because it will open the doors for more lawsuits against companies just banking on the "gluten free thing" for $$ and not really testing their products, caring about their consumers or training their staff. We have ALL experienced these issues. Good Luck to him!

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    I normally would not agree with this lawsuit, but I have celiac disease and get deathly ill if I eat gluten.  Several times waitresses have "guessed" at something instead of asking the chief, and I have vomited over 20 times as a result.  The last time I had to have an IV.  If everyone in the restaurant does not know what gluten is, the restaurant should not advertise that it offers gluten-free meals.  The U.S. is way behind a lot of European countries in this.  We just came back from Northern Europe, and I was always able to get gluten-free bread in the hotels for breakfast if I asked.  And we were never charged extra from gluten-free bread. 

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    5 hours ago, Guest Anna H said:

    I hope he wins this suit. I grew up in Myrtle and I will tell you, yes, it's a tourist town and they just don't have time to care. But I hope this man wins because it will open the doors for more lawsuits against companies just banking on the "gluten free thing" for $$ and not really testing their products, caring about their consumers or training their staff. We have ALL experienced these issues. Good Luck to him!

    I feel bad for him but if law suits start popping up everywhere restaurants are going to stop offering gluten-free food out of fear and then we’re back at square one! It seems a lot of places are saying gluten “friendly” for this reason. 

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    21 minutes ago, Guest Laine said:

    I feel bad for him but if law suits start popping up everywhere restaurants are going to stop offering gluten-free food out of fear and then we’re back at square one! It seems a lot of places are saying gluten “friendly” for this reason. 

    I agree.  If you want to be absolutely safe (there are no guarantees in life), stick to Dedicated gluten-free restaurants.  If not available, try a higher-end restaurant and talk directly to the chef.  Do not discuss your food needs with waitstaff.    

    I do not get gluten exposures when I eat out because I follow this advice!  Re-think your lifestyle.  Focus on relationships more and less on food.  Take a walk with a friend instead of risking your health.  

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    Not sure where I stand on this.  I know that if I owned a restaurant..I would simply NEVER say we were 100% gluten-free if it meant risking someone's life or a lawsuit.  and I would never eat at ANY restaurant w/o personally speaking to the chef.  that's just how I roll w/ my gluten-free life.

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    I don't eat in restaurants.  I do not trust them.  Cross contamination is so easy.  Unless they have a separate kitchen, how can they advertise gluten free food.  I have ended up in the hospital too many times from allergic reactions.  The last time I almost lost my arms before they could get my circulation going again.  Both of my arms were black and my hands were purple.  I heard the doctors say: "She's going to loose her arms if we don't get her circulation going soon."  Don't know what I would do if I ended up in a hospital for a stay.  Even hospitals in this country can't feed celiac's .  And I understand nursing homes don't take them for that reason.

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    I went to the same restaurant multiple times and they screwed up my gluten-free order multiple times. I've learned not to put my life in my hands with wait staff, and restaurants that don't take gluten-free as seriously as I do. I eat at home 99% of the time and bring my food with me to restaurants when others want to eat out. I know that sometimes they feel embarrassed that I'm not ordering from the menu but I don't care. It's their issue, not mine.

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    5 hours ago, Guest vew573 said:

    I don't eat in restaurants.  I do not trust them.  Cross contamination is so easy.  Unless they have a separate kitchen, how can they advertise gluten free food.  I have ended up in the hospital too many times from allergic reactions.  The last time I almost lost my arms before they could get my circulation going again.  Both of my arms were black and my hands were purple.  I heard the doctors say: "She's going to loose her arms if we don't get her circulation going soon."  Don't know what I would do if I ended up in a hospital for a stay.  Even hospitals in this country can't feed celiac's .  And I understand nursing homes don't take them for that reason.

     

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    A few years ago at an Old Spaghetti Factory, when I asked for gluten free pasta, the waiter asked if this was a "medical issue or lifestyle choice."  I was bemused.  I've been told that the difference is that for "medical issue" they boil the stuff in a separate pot not used for regular pasta.  They worry less about cross contamination for "lifestyle choice."  This actually makes sense to me. I'm not much bothered by cross contamination, though I've been hospitalized twice with full on gluten. But if I were, I'd appreciate the distinction. 

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    So many horrible stories! Not one MD I have spoken to, other than Dr Green and his colleagues at Columbia, get the truly serious repercussions of an accidental gluten exposure. I have a similar story of hospitalization after eating in a restaurant where everyone talked the gluten-free talk. That night I walked through a door that has no re- entry. I believe the next exposure may kill me. I was going into shock and losing consciousness; veins shutting down and kidneys stressed.  Not one person In the ER understood that this was a reaction to gluten. The staff asked my husband if I was an IV drug user....I’m a 66 year old grandmother. I no longer eat out unless it’s at a dedicated gluten-free restaurant or a restaurant that has been rigorously vetted. Even then I only order a dish that has very minor chances of being contaminated such as steamed shellfish. We bought a travel trailer and I know take my kitchen with me. My car carries gluten-free camping food and my own set of pots and pans and necessary utensils. Call me crazy but that will never happen to me again. Zero exposure is the only exposure I’m willing to settle for.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams 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 biology, anatomy, medicine, science, and advanced research, and scientific methods. He previously served as 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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