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danzn16

How Do You Ensure No Cross Contamination At Restaurants?

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I've been gluten-free for almost 2 weeks now but I fail to tell the waitress about how the cook should cook my food in clean pans, etc. What do you say to your server everytime you eat out to decrease risk of contamination with gluten?

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I only go where they have a gluten free menu. Then I ask to talk to the manager to be sure the cook is aware of cross contamination issues. Sometimes they are clueless. Then I don't eat. If they are concerned and knowledgeable I will eat with fear and trepidation. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

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So far I've only eaten at restaurants that are knowledgeable and are dedicated to their gluten free menu (I love my boyfriend for not wanting to take me anywhere else because he knows it's safer :) ), but I did make up a "cook card" for when I find my self at a place without a gluten-free menu. This way if I didn't want to make a big deal about it in front of the people I'm with, I can hand this to the waitress and say, "I have some special dietary concerns. Could you please read this and give it to whoever is cooking my food? I'm happy to answer any questions if you have any. Thank you so much." And it helps to go out during a non-peak dining time, so they're able to pay more attention to your food and ask you questions if need be and not feel like their holding up the whole kitchen. Also, if you know where you're going, call ahead and ask to speak to the manager about what safe options they may have.

I pasted my cook card below. Feel free to use any/none of it if you like. I can't have dairy, so I added that in, but you can put any other intolerances in there, as well.

Hope this helps!

Cook Card

Hello, I have Celiac Disease (a severe intolerance to gluten) and am on a strict gluten-free diet. If I eat certain foods I will become very sick. Thank you for working with me to prepare a meal that I can safely enjoy.

I CANNOT eat wheat, rye, barley, oats, or their derivates. These include kamut, spelt, durum, semolina, bulgur, triticale and malt. I also must avoid dairy products. Foods I need to avoid include croutons, bread, breadings, flour, soy sauce (and other sauces/dressings that contain gluten), orzo, seasoning mixes that may contain wheat, brown rice syrup and malt vinegar.

I CAN eat brown rice, corn, potatoes, tapioca, soy beans, amaranth, arrowroot, quinoa, pure buckwheat, millet, teff, nut flours, chicken, fish, steak, eggs, fruit, vegetables, basic seasonings, and gluten free sauces/dressings.

My food would need to be prepared on clean cooking surfaces and with clean utensils that have not been touched by gluten items.

If you have any questions, please ask me. Thank you so much for working with me on this! Know that you have given me the opportunity to relax and enjoy my meal, and I appreciate it very much.

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thanks for your replies!! any other suggestions??

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I only eat out at restaurants with a gluten-free menu and a kitchen that has staff trained about cross-contamination. Every time I try to relax on my diet and eat at normal restaurants I end up in trouble from traces of gluten.

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You really can't ensure it...you just have to go where you trust, talk to managers, chefs, wait staff and hope that they take it seriously!

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There is no way to 100% guarantee against CC. It sucks, but there it is. When you go to a restaurant, you are relying on the server/manager to properly relay the information to the people in the kitchen, and then relying on the people in the kitchen not to screw it up. No matter which way you cut it, you're taking a risk.

That said, if you follow the basic "rules" you reduce your risk. Call ahead - speak to the manager and take the manager's name, in case you go at a later time or a different day. Ask about their gluten-free menu. If they don't have a gluten-free menu, you have a choice: either move on to a different restauarant, or ask about options on their menu that can be prepared gluten-freely. Avoid peak times. Don't be afraid to double-check when something is brought to the table. If in doubt, don't eat it.

Lastly, call/email/contact the restaurant regardless of your experience. If you DO get glutened, they need to know about it. If you DON'T get glutened, giving them a pat on the back encourages them to maintain their standards, which helps everyone.

Good luck!

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Try to go to gluten-free and food allergy review sites that focus on restaurants. While you still NEED to ALWAYS state your needs up front and ask the right questions (gauging the staff's response as you do so), these sites could give you a good starting point for finding gluten-free-friendly restaurants.

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