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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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    12 hours ago, Guest Pookieanne said:

    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.

    Agree with eating at home for 99% of meals.  I eat at the same BWW & with the same server.  Only eat there M-T never holidays because they have a designated breadless fryer for wings only.  They make my salad fresh & change their gloves.  Otherwise, if on vacation, I rent a room with a stovetop & purchase fresh fruit & veggies at the local grocer.  Forget restaurants!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    53 minutes ago, Patty harrigan said:

    That she thought the next exposure might kill her

    For those of us with the extreme vomiting reaction to gluten, I think that it is the vomiting, not the gluten itself, that causes the scary stuff—precipitous drop in blood pressure and in blood sugar if you are diabetic, leading to passing out. Absent the vomiting the other stuff would not likely happen.  So my doctor has prescribed for me strong anti nausea suppositories (pills would just urp up.). So far haven’t had to use them, but they do assuage the fear of eating out.  The guy in the suit is claiming anaphylactic shock, which sounds like an allergy, not a celiac reaction.

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    Guest Celiac Patient

    Posted

    On 9/9/2019 at 3:54 PM, 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. 

    By the same token they need to take it seriously. What good is having a gluten free offering if it isn't really gluten free?

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    I agree, Patty.  But get the suppositories just in case. My last glutening wasn’t a restaurant.  I bought a product in the store that said the ingredient was crab.  It wasn’t. It was imitation crab.  HUGE difference.  And yes I bitched to the store and they talked to their supplier and the product now says imitation crab—and I needless to say don’t buy it.

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    Happened to me in a 15* restaurant here in Switzerland - reaction not anaphylactic but I was ill for a week. I complained to the owner who hasn't replied.....

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    On 9/9/2019 at 3:54 PM, 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'd much rather a restaurant say "gluten friendly" rather than provide a false sense of security that their meals are 100% gluten free and not cross contaminated.

    The problem is simple, unless the restaurants are dedicated gluten free the risks are just too high for cross contamination for EVERYONE with Celiac Disease and other gluten health issues, case in point with this story.  

    Please do not reply and tell me that you eat out all of the time with no issues, because unless you're testing the all the food on your plate and then backing it up with a blood panel, you'll never actually know.  It has been written over and over again that no amount of gluten is safe for someone with Celaic Disease, and restaurants like TGI employ kitchen staff, not chiefs.  They cook by numbers, and do you really think they are 100% concerned about cross contamination?  Or even take the time to slow down during lunch or dinner rushes to make sure noting is cross contaminated?

    For years I was eating out at restaurants that "could take care of me", only to be sick all of the time.  I got really sick one night, after eating at one of the more famous, so-called, safe places for Celiacs, I decided then to stop putting my health and well being in the hands of others.  And guess what, my health greatly improved.

    Believe me, my wife and I would love NOTHING MORE than to go out an eat a meal with friends and family, or order takeout on a rainy night, but it is just not worth.  Hands, cook surfaces, cooking utensils, ovens, oils, aprons all contain cross contamination.  And yes, even the big chains that supposedly cooks the meals in a separate location can still make you sick, how do I know, because one of those chains is the last place I ate that got me sick and made me change.  

    Gluten Free is still a fade for most, and restaurants are jumping on that train.  Sadly for those of us with Celiac, it's not a fade, and cross contamination it will cause damage whether we feel it or not.

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    17 hours ago, Patty harrigan said:

    I see both sides  but this is a serious disease and I was not well for 9 months after my last restaurant glutening. If they says it’s gluten free...gotta be just that. Can’t be sorta gluten free.

    If you are still sick after a glutening 9 months ago, either look to your diet or another illness.  I developed a third Autoimmune disorder after a gluten exposure.  Not everything can be due to celiac disease.  Please consult with your doctor.  

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    I had terrible knee pain that did not resolve for nine months. Got out of the car  one day soon after being glutened  and couldn’t walk. No injury. All tests negative for joint injury. Unexplained onset of extreme joint pain led to my initial diagnoses. Blood screening for Lymes, arthritis and the other autoimmune causes were negative but my liver enzymes were elevated. Subsequent blood work showed the high celiac antibodies. I never had gastrointestinal symptoms until after years of being gluten free. Knee pain went as mysteriously as it came. I’ve had these mysterious joint issues my whole life. Not an issue since diagnosis unless I get massively glutened.

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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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