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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Subway Stores in Oregon First to Offer Gluten-Free Options Statewide

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 03/09/2012 - Subway stores in Oregon are in the process of rolling out gluten-free sandwich buns and gluten-free brownies as regular menu items statewide, according to Subway spokesperson Cathie Ericson.

    Photo: CC--zyphbearFor millions of Americans who avoid gluten, due to celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, eating out can be a constant challenge. Having easy access to a safe, tasty, low-cost gluten-free sandwich is like the Holy Grail for some of those folks. For many, being able to grab a gluten-free Subway sandwich would be a major step toward vanquishing the challenges of eating gluten-free.

    Subway understands that being gluten-free "…really cuts down on fast-casual dining options, particularly sandwiches,” said Michele Shelley, Subway board member and owner.

    Many people were excited to read about Subway's early testing of gluten-free products in selected areas. Many were equally excited to hear about Subway's commitment to getting their gluten-free sandwich offerings right, from start to finish.

    For example, Subway’s wheat-free sandwich rolls and brownies are produced in a dedicated gluten-free facility and are individually packaged. Subway staffers are trained to prevent cross-contamination during the sandwich-making process.

    Moreover, a single employee will prepare a gluten-free sandwich order from start to finish. Other features to Subway's gluten-free process include single-use knives and eliminating contact between traditional sandwich rolls and other ingredients including meat, cheese and vegetables.

    Oregon is one of a handful of states where Subway first tested gluten-free products in selected areas. The current statewide roll out in Oregon comes after a successful test in Bend and Portland, Subway restaurants, and seems to signal Subway's desire to offer gluten-free menus to diners.

    “Subway is known for being a leader in healthy fare, and we are excited to embrace these gluten-free menu items for those who can benefit from them,” Shelley told reporters.

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    I understand that they are taking, what seem to be, great precautions to avoid cross-contamination. However, as a former Subway worker myself (prior to Celiac diagnosis)...I know that there are plastic tops that go over the stainless steel of the counters, where the bread is slid across for sandwich-making. This is obviously a porous material, which would not be completely rid of its gluten by just wiping it down. Though the bread is placed on deli paper and slid across, it's going to come into contact with the plastic counter top. Also, there are bread crumbs EVERYWHERE. I can't even imagine how valid a quick wipe-down of them would be before a gluten free sandwich is made. Props to Subway for their effort, but this entire idea sounds dangerous!

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    Great effort. But, I too, am very skeptical that it could ever be safe. There is no way they could share ingredients and not contaminate with the gloves touching the standard bread, and then someone else grabbing the same ingredients....just wouldn't work. May be possible if 2 separate kitchen/serving areas could exist. Could be a huge success if done right!

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    They should do this in Florida! I have to admit I would try one if they showed up here, but I agree with the fear. I know the workers are very apathetic and don't understand the importance of not even a little crumb. I just don't think a teenager at minimum wage is going to be as careful as someone at a fancy resturant would be who bend over backwards for you. However, I do eat salads at my subway, actually I want one today, and it is a risk, I ask them sometimes to change their gloves but I hate asking cause they give me that look as if it a big deal to change their gloves! I think its a good idea, I just think some workers really don't care or understand.

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    I am 68 years old and was diagnosed with celiac two years ago after eating a subway sandwich. I still have some problems [weight loss/220 lbs to 140 lbs now] but if Subway offers gluten free sandwiches in Florida, I'll try them...

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    It would be awesome to be able to go to Subway and enjoy a gluten-free sub but like the rest of you, I have my doubts. There is no way that wheat crumbs do not end up in the containers of lettuce, tomatos, onion etc. etc.

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    This article too is years old, and we never had gluten free anything at Subway. These out of date links should be removed or updated.

    You can still get gluten-free rolls at Subway in Oregon.

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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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