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Et tu, Brute?

Journal of Gluten Sensitivity Summer 2015 Issue - Originally published July 16, 2015

Celiac.com 11/10/2015 - I can only imagine the gut wrenching betrayal Caesar must have considered in the final moments of his life. Brutus, a trusted friend, took it upon himself to rid Rome of his long time ally for the betterment of society, wielding the dagger that (for better or worse) ultimately changed the Roman Empire and altered history.

Image: CC--fr.zllMost of us will go our whole lives blissfully unaware of how deep that dagger cuts; but not so for the staff of P.F. Changs. After years of being leading pioneers in the gluten-free restaurant business they were served with a discriminatory lawsuit. Anna Marie Phillips decided to file the suit against the gluten-free restaurant claiming the extra dollar surcharge is both discriminatory and unfair for those who are required to maintain a gluten-free diet. Suing for potentially millions, her class action law suit could be the legal dagger that changes the celiac landscape for years to come.

The legal basis for this law suit is most likely buried in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which expanded its legal guidelines in the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008. Mark Heller, Ms. Phillips attorney, was quoted from Yahoo Health "To have to pay a premium price is discriminatory, and there is legal basis for a case. It would be like installing a handicapped ramp and then charging people a dollar to use it." While I do not doubt either of their noble intentions, I would argue that a business does not incur an additional cost or delay each and every time someone utilizes their wheel chair ramp.

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The greater issue is what is at risk for the entire gluten-free community. Living most of my life on the diet (since the 1990's) I have witnessed the remarkable achievements celiacs have made over the years. While costs are still higher for gluten-free food, our capitalist society allows for the market to react to supply and demand. The more profitable the industry the more options become available to consumers. The more options there are, the lower the price goes in the marketplace. This is the American way of life.

Now, imagine for a moment that the gluten-free restaurant industry was no longer as profitable. gluten-free restaurants could not legally charge a premium for their products; but, were still required to go through the extra steps of preparing them correctly. Would their willingness to create a gluten-free menu fade? Would a gluten-free meal prepared by someone with a legal dagger to their back taste as delectable? Will there be anyone left to make it?

"Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's."

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4 Responses:

 
Betty
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said this on
16 Nov 2015 5:52:43 AM PDT
I absolutely agree that this lawsuit could set us back years! I understand and have also felt singled out when I have to pay more for gluten free options, but I too believe that restaurants in particular incur higher costs to offer the food and train the staff. I'm eternally grateful when a business has something to offer me as opposed to not eating out and enjoying time with friends and family. I hope this lawsuit falls apart! Kudos to P.F. Changs for going above and beyond and being one of the first to do so.

 
Gary
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said this on
16 Nov 2015 8:46:20 AM PDT
The action by Ms Phillips is wrong. People should know that GF preparation of food costs more. PF Chang is being honest about their extra costs.

 
Mary Thorpe
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said this on
16 Nov 2015 2:26:53 PM PDT
We have to pay more for gluten free bread, cookies, etc. at the grocery store, so I suppose this is an extension of that. But it doesn't make it right. There's a lot of egregious profiteering in the gluten free market because we are a captive market. Competition will ultimately (hopefully) bring prices down.

 
Marilyn
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said this on
16 Nov 2015 6:28:04 PM PDT
I think the lawsuit is unwarranted. It takes more time and concern to properly prepare gluten free food and I for one, am very happy to go to restaurant that offers gluten free dishes. Very happy that PF Chang's offers gluten free food and I would not like seeing them discontinue this service.




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@cyclinglady thanks for checking in Restricted diet didn't do much. Still had some VA last time they checked. Heath still otherwise fine, so RCD remains unlikely. My sxs kick in lockstep with life stress, so that kind of points to some general IBS stuff on top of celiac disease. Very doubtful I'm getting any gluten in, but fingers crossed my system is just a little hyper-vigilant, as I ponder on this thread.

I have always noticed that the table wine in Europe is pretty damn good! I am a wine lover and so is my husband but he does like his Green's beer.

The reason they set the limit at 20ppms is that through scientific study, they have proven that the vast majority of people with Celiac Disease do not have an autoimmune reaction to amounts below that......it is a safe limit for most. Also, just because that limit is set at 20ppms, does not mean that gluten-free products contain that amount of gluten. Testing for lower levels becomes more expensive with each increment down closer to 0-5ppms, which translates into higher priced products. Unless you eat a lot of processed gluten-free food, which can have a cumulative affect for some, most people do well with the 20ppm limit.

I'm in the Houston area so I'm assuming there are plenty of specialists around, though finding one that accepts my insurance might be hard. This might sound dumb, but do I search for a celiac specialist?? I'm so new to this and want to feel confident in what is/isn't wrong with my daughter. I'm with you on trusting the specialist to know the current research.

Hi VB Thats sounds like a good plan. Would it help to know that a frustrating experience in seeking diagnosis isn't unusual With your IGG result I'm sure a part of you is still wondering if they are right to exclude celiac. I know just how you feel as I too had a negative biopsy, but by then a gluten challenge had already established how severely it affected me. So I was convinced I would be found to be celiac and in a funny way disappointed not to get the 'official' stamp of approval. Testing isnt perfect, you've already learned of the incomplete celiac tests offered by some organisations and the biopsy itself can only see so much. If you react positively to the gluten free diet it may mean you're celiac but not yet showing damage in a place they've checked, or it may be that you're non celiac gluten sensitive, which is a label that for a different but perhaps related condition which has only recently been recognised and for which research is still very much underway. We may not be able to say which but the good news is all of your symptoms: were also mine and they all resolved with the gluten free diet. So don't despair, you may still have found your answer, it just may be a bit wordier than celiac! Keep a journal when you're on the diet, it may help you track down your own answers. Best of luck!