Gluten free diets are spruiked by Hollywood actors and supermarket shelves are becoming increasingly dominated by gluten free products.
It’s not surprising then that health conscious customers and patients alike are asking for gluten free menu options. Market surveys show that gluten free is the most frequent special diet request in food services (1).
For those with coeliac disease (an immune disease caused by gluten), as little as 50mg of gluten (equivalent to 1/100th of a slice of standard wheat bread) can damage the small intestine (2) and increase the risk of long term health problems.
Simple best practice procedures in the kitchen, as advocated by Coeliac Australia, can reduce the risk of gluten cross contamination and protect the health of your most sensitive customers (3):
- Store gluten free products and ingredients in clearly labelled separate sealed containers on a separate shelf once they have been removed from original packaging.
- Dedicate utensils such as knives, chopping boards and other cooking utensils for gluten free food preparation.
- Toast all gluten free items in dedicated appliances or wrap (bonbon style) if using a shared toaster or sandwich press.
- Dedicate the top shelf of pie warmers to gluten free products.
- Deep fry gluten free items in a dedicated fryer.
- Use separate water in a clean pot for cooking or re-heating gluten free pasta and use a separate strainer or strain it first.
- Separate butter and condiment containers for gluten free uses to prevent gluten containing crumb contamination. Don’t dust meats, fish or cake tins with gluten containing flour (including wheaten cornflour).
- Icing sugar mixture commonly contains wheat so keep this in mind when dusting cakes and slices. Gluten free icing sugar mixture is available.
- Display gluten free baked items on top shelf of display cases, keeping separate from gluten containing items and use dedicated utensils for serving.
- Locate gluten free foods in a Baine Marie such that gluten containing foods are not served over the top of this food.
- BIS Market Report 2013
- Coeliac Australia coeliac.org.au accessed February 2015
- Coeliac Australia Gluten Free Standard for the Australian Food Service Sector. http://www.coeliac.org.au/gf-standard/ accessed February 2015