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Gluten Free At Fast Food Place?

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There are a ton of threads discussing the possibility of CC at Chipotle.  Any time you eat out there is a level of risk, and I like being able to see what they are doing with my own eyes at Chipotle. Imagine all the things you stop them from doing (one time the guy was putting on new gloves and his glove hit the flour tortillas) that they aren't stopped from doing at other places.  Generally they plop everything onto the burritos, and the rice always goes on first.  Then everything else is plopped on top of the rice, so if you want them to get you some rice from the back and that makes you more comfortable, then go for it.

 

Also, I am astonished at the number of people who are gluten-free and eat at taco bell.  No way for me, would rather starve.

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I ate at Chipotle a few months ago. It was delicious and I had no reaction. After that, just out of curiosity, I did a web search on them and someone had commented that they had noticed that they were using the scoops that are in the different toppings to smear the toppings across the flour tortillas and that it could cause cross contamination issues. This was a older post, and I am wondering if anyone noticed if they still do this, or do they plop the toppings on the flour tortillas now? Their food is really good, so I am hoping they train their staff not to let the scoops touch the tortillas now since they seem very Celiac aware.

Taco Bell also has gluten free Cantina Bowls that my husband really likes. I agree with other that cross contamination risk could be high there so I avoid it myself.

The one I went to didn't do that for the few people in front of me.

 

Of course, the one I went to might be exceptionally aware of CC being that it is in the middle of the Uptwon area in Minneapolis which is a pretty health concious area. It seemed to me like the employees at this location have been trained properly to handle customers with allergies/intolerances. I'm sure that being a chain it will vary some from one location to the next.

 

The best thing would be go and see how they do it at your local one and if you are worried about CC make sure to point out that it happened. If you see them doing something that contaminates your food then tell them so, most places will not make a big deal out of it.

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For those of you that eat at Five Guys - do you take your own gluten-free buns or just eat the slab of meat with the toppings?

 

My family ate there last night (first time as a gluten-free family) and took in a package of Udi's buns.  The cashier knew what we were doing and had all the burgers put in the little aluminum bowls for us.  During our meal he came to tell us that they can't do that again (meaning allow outside food), but he'd "take care of us this time."  My husband and I were confused - we have NEVER been to a place that doesn't allow outside food.  Think of how many mothers keep Cheerios for appetizers while waiting for food.  It was a weird exchange and now I'm wondering if it's a corporate policy or just a misunderstanding.  BTW - the guy was really nice the entire time we were in there so it wasn't him just being a jerk.

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For those of you that eat at Five Guys - do you take your own gluten-free buns or just eat the slab of meat with the toppings?

 

My family ate there last night (first time as a gluten-free family) and took in a package of Udi's buns.  The cashier knew what we were doing and had all the burgers put in the little aluminum bowls for us.  During our meal he came to tell us that they can't do that again (meaning allow outside food), but he'd "take care of us this time."  My husband and I were confused - we have NEVER been to a place that doesn't allow outside food.  Think of how many mothers keep Cheerios for appetizers while waiting for food.  It was a weird exchange and now I'm wondering if it's a corporate policy or just a misunderstanding.  BTW - the guy was really nice the entire time we were in there so it wasn't him just being a jerk.

I would probably call and talk to the manager. I would explain the health problems involved and that if accomidations can't be made then you won't do business with them anymore. If someone has a health issue they should be able to bring food in, so long as they make a purchase.

 

I would just say that if they don't offer gluten-free buns then they shoud allow you to bring your own. Not sure why they care, they're saving money by you paying for the bun and not getting it.

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There are health department rules that wouldn't allow them to handle your buns.   :ph34r:   What most people do is tell them you are "allergic" or something.  they will put the burgers on lettuce and wrap them up.  What you do with them at the table is your business.  It may be that he wasn't supposed to use those little bowls?

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There are health department rules that wouldn't allow them to handle your buns.   :ph34r:   What most people do is tell them you are "allergic" or something.  they will put the burgers on lettuce and wrap them up.  What you do with them at the table is your business.  It may be that he wasn't supposed to use those little bowls?

That's what I've been doing. It seems like when people hear the word "allergy" their ears perk up. I think that eating gluten-free is becoming such a fad (in that a lot of people not sensative or celiac are doing it) that I think a lot of people give it the same level of consideration  as the Atkin's Diet or something if all you say is you can't have gluten.

 

So, saying "I have a gluten allergy" seems to get better results than "I don't eat gluten".

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I will take in a bun in a plastic baggie and just slap it on there myself once I get it. I wouldn't involve them in it.  Same way I bring my own bottle of gluten-free soy sauce in my purse to Genghis Grill... heeheehee.  

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I will take in a bun in a plastic baggie and just slap it on there myself once I get it. I wouldn't involve them in it.  Same way I bring my own bottle of gluten-free soy sauce in my purse to Genghis Grill... heeheehee.  

Right, I wouldn't ask them to put it on the bun.

 

From the restuarant's point of view they can't assume the risk of preparing foods with outside ingredients but you putting the burger on your own bun shouldn't be a problem.

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Right, I wouldn't ask them to put it on the bun.

 

From the restuarant's point of view they can't assume the risk of preparing foods with outside ingredients but you putting the burger on your own bun shouldn't be a problem.

We didn't ask - just held the bag of buns on our way in. Who knows, maybe the other kids in the back were joshing him. I'll just call it odd and move on.

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Stick the bag in your purse!  I can be your little secret, they don't have to know.  LOL

 

I worked in a burger place for two weeks when I was in high school.  Then my pizza place called me with a counter offer and I went back there cause they loved me so much.  You would be very surprised at how many people will bring in meals from other places and then use another restaurants tables, wifi, condiments, and other resources and not buy a darn thing.  And they usually are not shy about it.  That plus the health thing.  So some places have strict policies on that.  I think your experience was probably just an odd one.

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I went to a Jimmy John's sub place the other day. They do much like Chipotle does and prevent CC. You have to order an Unwich and I think the ham sub. I think the beef has gluten in it or is CC'd during processing or something like that.

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Check out the app "Find Me Gluten Free" (on iPhone, not sure about droid or blackberry). They have a listing of popular chains and what they say is safe. But I give a word of caution...request fresh gloves and food prepped on either plastic wrap or foil, and if it's fried be sure that they are frying it in FRESH (meaning has not been filtered and was just poured in the vat) oil. I spent 7 years in restaurants and 6 of it was management.

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I just downloaded the "Find me Gluten Free" app for my android phone.  Thanks for the suggestion!!!  I travel a lot for work and more often than not my choices for eating in the road are McDonald's or whatever selection the local gas station might have.  That is going to be the biggest challenge for me going gluten free.  It's not always possible to pack food for my longer trips so hopefully this app will help me find places in the middle of nowhere USA :D

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I went to a Jimmy John's sub place the other day. They do much like Chipotle does and prevent CC. You have to order an Unwich and I think the ham sub. I think the beef has gluten in it or is CC'd during processing or something like that.

My husband's work moved to a new location, and there is a Jimmy Johns nearby.  Tried it out and I never thought a lettuce wrap sandwich could be so satisfying, I was pleased.  They move with lightning speed there so I had to make them pause to hear my spiel!  LOL

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I ate at Chipotle a few months ago. It was delicious and I had no reaction. After that, just out of curiosity, I did a web search on them and someone had commented that they had noticed that they were using the scoops that are in the different toppings to smear the toppings across the flour tortillas and that it could cause cross contamination issues. This was a older post, and I am wondering if anyone noticed if they still do this, or do they plop the toppings on the flour tortillas now? Their food is really good, so I am hoping they train their staff not to let the scoops touch the tortillas now since they seem very Celiac aware.

Taco Bell also has gluten free Cantina Bowls that my husband really likes. I agree with other that cross contamination risk could be high there so I avoid it myself.

Yes, at least at my Chipotle, they still hit the spoons on the tortillas and then put them back in the toppings. The last time I went (which will probably be the LAST time), the very nice young man offered to wash his hands and change gloves (and even the spoons), but then told me that the spoons always go back into the toppings after hitting the tortillas, and that the toppings were probably contaminated already.

 

Unless they get you all fresh containers from the back, I would be careful there.

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If you are worried then have Chipotle get stuff from the back.

 

And yes, you are not allowed to bring in outside food into many/all establishments. If there were an issue with food born illness they wouldn't be able to track it and whatnot.  It is a health department law. Mom's having snacks for the kiddo they usually overlook but bringing stuff in is a no no.

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Yeah, you are all but guaranteed to get CC'ed there. Same with Subway, I won't touch their food with a 10 foot pole. 

 

Hi, when you get cc'd in Subway is it from the Gluten free bread or the ingredients? I was thinking of getting subway salad boxes...how safe do you think that is?

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Hi, when you get cc'd in Subway is it from the Gluten free bread or the ingredients? I was thinking of getting subway salad boxes...how safe do you think that is?

 

Subway's CC is going to be a problem across the board on the food prep line.  They handle the bread with their hands, touch the meats and cheeses with those hands when they have to carefully pick off single slices from the stack... knives aren't washed between sandwiches, the sandwich prep line can get very messy during busy times.  Subway employees also aren't exactly known for their expertise and helpfulness, of course that doesn't mean they can't be careful if you get a good one.  If you want to try out subway, try going at a non busy time, being super sweet and nice, and get them to get all your ingredients from the fridge where they keep the next batch of cut sandwich toppings at.  (They go through a lot so will have sliced up stuff ready to go in bins generally).  Now, if you are able to find someone who is willing to do that plus the usual clean hands, etc, then you would probably be okay.  Definitely would vary by location.  Befriending someone like the manager may help.  But definitely be very cautious and use your intuition.  You also may want to double check the gluten content of the non-veggie toppings, in case a dressing or something is a no-go.

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Subway's CC is going to be a problem across the board on the food prep line.  They handle the bread with their hands, touch the meats and cheeses with those hands when they have to carefully pick off single slices from the stack... knives aren't washed between sandwiches, the sandwich prep line can get very messy during busy times.  Subway employees also aren't exactly known for their expertise and helpfulness, of course that doesn't mean they can't be careful if you get a good one.  If you want to try out subway, try going at a non busy time, being super sweet and nice, and get them to get all your ingredients from the fridge where they keep the next batch of cut sandwich toppings at.  (They go through a lot so will have sliced up stuff ready to go in bins generally).  Now, if you are able to find someone who is willing to do that plus the usual clean hands, etc, then you would probably be okay.  Definitely would vary by location.  Befriending someone like the manager may help.  But definitely be very cautious and use your intuition.  You also may want to double check the gluten content of the non-veggie toppings, in case a dressing or something is a no-go.

 

Thank you for all of that. I never thought about the knife change etc. Wow, i thought i was playing it safe by going to Subway for a salad. Yeah i'll have to be really vigilant if i go there.

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Yeah, the problem with Subway is that they touch the bread and then touch all the toppings with the same hands. 

 

I'm kind of new to this, didn't realize that just by touching gluten and then your food it could get contaminated! This is so hard!!

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I'm kind of new to this, didn't realize that just by touching gluten and then your food it could get contaminated! This is so hard!!

It definitely is hard.  But there are tricky ways around everything.  I think rule number 1 is to be super duper nice and appreciative towards the people.  That helps you win friends and makes them want to do stuff to help you out.  Making friends with people at the place is a win/win situation for all. (like when I walk into my chipotle and the people go "Gluten Girl!!!!" and change their gloves without asking..lol)  So it never hurts to try!  As time goes on, it becomes more natural of a thing to do when you have to do all this crazy stuff to protect yourself.  But in the long run the good health is worth it :) We are here for ya!

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Has anyone eaten gluten-free at Arby's?  Next leg of my trip my restaurant choices are Arby's and the grocery store...  According to their website their meat and cheeses are gluten-free.  They do have some salads so I can do that if I need to but do you just order a pile of meat.  I don't see anything about them having gluten-free buns so I'm guessing that is not an option.  I've been to this grocery store before and last time I checked, no gluten-free breads/buns, etc.  It's been about a month since I was there so it might have changed.

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McDonalds only fries fries and hash browns in their fryers. At least, that is the company policy and the fries are cooked at different temp than other things.

I used to Manage a McDonald's back in the day and I can tell you they fry Chicken, Chicken nuggets, and Fish along with fries and hashbrowns all in the same friers. I would not trust it!

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