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sandsurfgirl

Well It's Happening

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I've been saying for a long time that people need to stop threatening law suits at restaurants and demanding that they accommodate us. All it does is make them want to quit helping us out.

Bubba Gump's not only got rid of their gluten free menu, but when my friend called our local one the manager said that nothing in their restaurant can be guaranteed gluten free so they can't make us anything except a plain hamburger patty. She said the new owners have a policy that they won't provide gluten free food because they can't know what came from where, blah blah blah.

I went to Mel's Diner in Hollywood and got the same speech. The manager tried to discourage me from eating there and was very difficult, saying everything in the restaurant has gluten. I asked the waitress why he acted that way because when I went there in the past they were accommodating. She said the restaurant was sued and now the owners don't want to offer anything to people with food allergies to avoid more lawsuits.

Woody's diner also did the same thing. They told me they didn't know about gluten and wouldn't be able to make anything for me so we left.

Sometimes people get very irate and say they threatened a lawsuit when they got glutened or they want to pass laws that you have to guarantee your restaurant food is gluten free to serve gluten free food. All that does is hurt all of us! All a restaurant has to do is say that none of their food is gluten free and quit making anything for us to eat. I would do the same thing. If my restaurant was sued or threatened with lawsuits I would just say sorry, there is nothing we can do for you. Eat somewhere else.

When I was in the hospital for colitis the nurse said in all her years of nursing she only had a handful of patients who needed gluten free food. We are not a large group. We are a very small part of the market. The money they get from us eating at their places doesn't make up for even one lawsuit. Restaurants are better off just saying don't eat here and saving themselves if you look at it from a business standpoint.

So please think twice when you go out to eat about the way you handle the wait staff. Don't demand. Don't be difficult and don't threaten them. Be polite and know that you are taking the risk by eating out. If you get glutened don't call them irate and screaming. If you must call, be polite and say this is what you can do to prevent this in the future.

I fear that we won't have any restaurants in the future and I like eating out.

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Yeah, I never understood suing a restaurant for being glutened or coming into contact with an alergen. Honestly, if you're eating in a public restaurant, you're taking your chances.

I've been incredibly lucky since I was diagnosed and have not had any mishaps at all. However, I *always* contact a restaurant ahead of time to find out if they have any gluten free options on the menu, and ask if they are aware of Celiac disease. If the answer is "no", then I find somewhere else to go.

Only once have I gone to a restaurant and not called ahead of time, and they did say they only ne gluten free option, and normally they wouldn't serve a Celiac because the kitchen itself may be cross contaminated. The chef however said that they weren't busy, so it would take him some extra time to prepare my meal, because he would have to run all his utensils thru the dishwasher and scrub the prep area. He said on a busy day though, they would not accomodate me, so I haven't bothered to go back (it's in a casino anyway, and I don't frequent casinos!)

We are lucky that more and more restaurants are offering gluten free menus, and at least here in Ontario Canada, more and more food servers seem to be aware of Celiac disease. With more options, I'm not too worried about the few who refuse to accomdate us. I only worry about potentially being hospitalised and not being able to eat anything!

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I agree with you.

I know restaurants aren't always careful, but I wonder if people get glutened for reasons that are not the restaurant's fault and not a result of CC on their end. Like someone with celiac touching a chair or doorknob that the last patron touched with gluteny fingers and then picking up their food with their fingers. Even if you wash your hands before eating, it's hard to sit down at a table and make it through a meal without touching the chair, table, etc. Then, the person blames the cook or wait staff for CC. I recently got mildly glutened waiting for my kids during their gymnastics lesson. Crumbles abound in the waiting room, and I was drinking out of my coffee I brought from home. I'm sure I touched my chair and touched the rim of my coffee. No one to blame but myself.

It'd also be nice if waitstaff were better trained to not touch the tops of glasses, water bottles, plates, etc.

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We have been running into more "no, we cannot accommodate you" attitudes as well. It is an interesting and complex issue. It seems that a celiac / food allergic person's rights should have some protection under the ADA. In "A Guide to Disability Rights Laws" here: http://www.ada.gov/cguide.htm, is ADA Title III: Public Accommodations, and it applies to restaurants and specifies the following:

"Public accommodations must comply with basic nondiscrimination requirements that prohibit exclusion, segregation, and unequal treatment. They also must comply with specific requirements related to architectural standards for new and altered buildings; reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures; effective communication with people with hearing, vision, or speech disabilities; and other access requirements. Additionally, public accommodations must remove barriers in existing buildings where it is easy to do so without much difficulty or expense, given the public accommodation's resources."

And I think restaurants that claim that they "don't know" or "can't guarantee" the quality/source/ingredients of their food are a bit out of place as purveyors of food and food safety.

Unrelated to food allergy accommodation, but addressing ADA accommodation in a restaurant is this ruling I found: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Court-Chipotle-restaurant-apf-4035738846.html?x=0 - I thought it was interesting.

I don't know how this will shake out in the future, but I am grateful for those restaurants that have taken an educated lead in accommodating celiacs. This brochure here: http://www.gluten.net/gfrap/pdf/GFRAP_Brochure.pdf has some really great quotes from restaurants that have participated in the Gluten Free Restaurant Awareness Program!

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We have been running into more "no, we cannot accommodate you" attitudes as well. It is an interesting and complex issue. It seems that a celiac / food allergic person's rights should have some protection under the ADA. In "A Guide to Disability Rights Laws" here: http://www.ada.gov/cguide.htm, is ADA Title III: Public Accommodations, and it applies to restaurants and specifies the following:

"Public accommodations must comply with basic nondiscrimination requirements that prohibit exclusion, segregation, and unequal treatment. They also must comply with specific requirements related to architectural standards for new and altered buildings; reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures; effective communication with people with hearing, vision, or speech disabilities; and other access requirements. Additionally, public accommodations must remove barriers in existing buildings where it is easy to do so without much difficulty or expense, given the public accommodation's resources."

And I think restaurants that claim that they "don't know" or "can't guarantee" the quality/source/ingredients of their food are a bit out of place as purveyors of food and food safety.

Unrelated to food allergy accommodation, but addressing ADA accommodation in a restaurant is this ruling I found: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Court-Chipotle-restaurant-apf-4035738846.html?x=0 - I thought it was interesting.

I don't know how this will shake out in the future, but I am grateful for those restaurants that have taken an educated lead in accommodating celiacs. This brochure here: http://www.gluten.net/gfrap/pdf/GFRAP_Brochure.pdf has some really great quotes from restaurants that have participated in the Gluten Free Restaurant Awareness Program!

I don't think celiac counts as a disability. If you can't walk and your wheelchair can't get into a building that doesn't provide a ramp then there is no other option for you. We can't eat three grains out of the millions of foods available in the world and there is food somewhere to eat, just not those particular restaurants. We aren't disabled.

I'm all for free enterprise and making it easier, not harder for people to do business.

I can't imagine forcing restaurants to accommodate food allergies. How could someone allergic to soy eat in any asian restaurant? Or peanut allergic people eat in a Thai place? You can't tell people to change the culture and nature of their food to fit your allergies. The only thing we can do is be polite, thank them for offering gluten free options, patronize them and don't file lawsuits.

I don't see how a lawsuit can win anyway because symptoms can occur so long after the gluten exposure, but just filing the suit causes the owner of the restaurant to lose time and money defending themselves.

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That part of the ADA is for physical accommodations to allow everyone accesss to a facility. Once they are in the building, they might not like what is served or sold.

I don't think you can force a store to sell a certain item. If I sold fine jewlery, it would be silly to have a law that said I must also sell bottled water or tires. I have to make it so anyone can come in my store, but I don't have to sell them everything they may care to buy. Even then, the ADA does allow for " reasonable accommodations". It may not be "reasonable" to expect a bakery to sell gluten-free items, too.

What I object to is places saying they have gluten-free food but don't really even try. Places that say the fries are gluten-free because , until they fry them with the onion rings, they are gluten-free. I would prefer they just don't try.

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Unfortunately, it was bound to happen in our litigation-happy society with gluten-free as the current diet fad. There are too many people who think gluten-free simply means no bread or pasta and don't understand how the medical diet works. There are also too many celiacs who have unrealistic expectations about restaurants and CC. It's a bad mix.

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I couldn't agree more. If we find a place that is willing to accommodate then we need to be appreciative enough to thank them and let them know. If they can't, thank them anyway. We can't always have our way (as much as we might want it!). I also figure that any time we step outside of our own gluten free home we take a chance. Glutening can happen anywhere and you can't always blame it on the restaurant.

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I'm less sensitive to gluten than I am to other food items, but still I have gotten a little cc from time to time. On the whole, I've had great experiences eating out. I usually either order a salad with plain chicken, or some type of meat and a plain baked potato.

Honestly, it's more often me that cc's myself. :P The restaurants have all been great, and I travel a lot for work and can be away from my kitchen for weeks at a time.

There are two specific restaurants in my area that have withdrawn gluten free menus and now state that they cannot guarantee anything is gluten free. I just try to go in as early as possible, and kindly let the waitress know that I have food allergies. At this point I have so many that I don't actually list them. I can hardly keep them straight. :P I have not had trouble yet.

And I have been refused service before because of my food allergies. I was in an airport and the gal said that people with food allergies shouldn't eat out. Yeah, like I have a traveling kitchen that they allow me to carry on. >rolls eyes< I definitely think we need to be more kind and less threatening if we want to continue to be served.

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I agree that litigation doesn't improve anything and just makes it harder for coeliacs to eat in restaurants. Small businesses struggle in current economic climate and this gives them no incentive to provide gluten free meals. The litigation culture has been slower to hit the UK and doesn't seem to have affected restaurants supplying gluten free foods (at least in my personal experience). I have found chefs to be very accommodating and wanting to provide me with a meal which is not only gluten free but that they can take pride in producing. I find that as long as I'm the one choosing the restaurant and have control of what I'm ordereing that I don't have problems. Where it is problematic is when it's some kind of celebration get together with a large number of people and there is a limited menu provided in a restaurant I've not chosen.

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I don't think celiac counts as a disability.

Celiac and food allergy can qualify as a disability with an American's rights protected under the ADA.

"An individual with a disability is defined by the ADA as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment."

And the part from Title III that I thought was of value was: "reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures". I just don't think that restaurants have a right to blanketly refuse accommodating someone that can be reasonably accommodated, as is the case with some of the blanket "we cannot accommodate you" statements from restaurants that could reasonably accommodate the request.

I don't think that a conventional bakery can make reasonable modifications to accommodate a celiac, but I do think a steakhouse has a decent shot of being able to make reasonable modifications. And I think that it is important to understand our rights as we have agreed to govern ourselves in society, especially in light of statements like, "I fear that we won't have any restaurants in the future".

The airport example is a great one - we just cannot cut off all celiacs and food allergic people from public accommodations when reasonable modifications are possible. And celiacs alone make up approximately 1% of our population. Unfortunately, denial by many people involved has led to a ridiculously low diagnosis rate, making it even harder for diagnosed celiacs to find the support and community that is so helpful in coping with the necessary change in lifestyle.

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any restaurant has the option to refuse service to anyone for any reason at all, including not being able to ensure you a safe dining experience, or even if they just don't like the t-shirt you're wearing. I don't see a problem with that at all. I'd rather that they admit they can't accomodate you than have them try and fail and make me sick.

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any restaurant has the option to refuse service to anyone for any reason at all, including not being able to ensure you a safe dining experience, or even if they just don't like the t-shirt you're wearing. I don't see a problem with that at all. I'd rather that they admit they can't accomodate you than have them try and fail and make me sick.

I think if a restaurant refused to serve someone based on the fact they are FAT, the restaurant would get sued.

So we are just too quick to threaten lawsuit.

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I really like the disability angle. Why should we be ostracized in restaurants due to something we can't control? It's not more profitable to have ADA parking spaces, restrooms, and other accommodations. However, in my opinion, it's the upstanding thing to do.

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I like restaurants that do try and accomodate as well as they can. They tell you that they cannot garantee that the products are completely gluten free. I recently went to a japanese steak house and asked if they had a gluten free menu. They did not, but one of the cooks was right there and said that they did have gluten free soy sauce and that they could cook my food seperately on "clean" cook ware. When we sat down and started making orders, I asked the ladies if they had the gluten free soy sauce to bring to the table. This was funny as they didn't speak clear english and I finally said "Wheat" which they did understand. They made my food seperate in the kitchen since the regular cooking surface is completely covered in gluten. I had an enjoyable time with friends and even got to enjoy some sushi with the gluten free soy sauce. The local pizza place that makes gluten free pizza always calls me when I make a online order to let me know that they still cannot garantee that the sausage stuffed mushrooms are gluten free, but the pizza is. It's great to order delivery pizza along with the rest of the family. If I had to do with the disability angle, I have that covered on two side since I am also epileptic. lol :P

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