Celiac Disease Awareness Month Call to Action #2: Restaurant menu items designated as “gluten-free” but not recommended for those with celiac disease
In honor of Celiac Disease Awareness Month, Gluten Free Watchdog will be issuing four calls to action (one each week).
The second call to action pertains to restaurants with menu items designated as “gluten-free” but not recommended for those with celiac disease.
FDA states the following about gluten-free claims and restaurants*:
“If restaurants or other retail food establishments wish to make “gluten-free” claims (or the synonymous claims “no gluten” “free of gluten” or “without gluten”) for any of their menu items, these foods should meet all of the requirements FDA has established for a food labeled gluten-free, including not containing 20 parts per million or more gluten, whether or not the presence of gluten is due to accidental cross-contact occurring in the kitchen. If restaurants cannot ensure that the foods they prepare fully comply with FDA’s definition of gluten-free, restaurants should not refer to their foods as being “gluten-free.”
Let’s remember why we have a gluten-free labeling rule**:
“Need for the rule: … Celiac disease has no cure, but individuals who have this disease are advised to avoid all sources of gluten in their diet to protect against adverse health effects associated with the disease…Establishing in this final rule a regulatory definition of the food labeling term “gluten-free” and uniform conditions for its use in the labeling of foods is necessary to ensure that individuals with celiac disease are not misled and are provided with truthful and accurate information with respect to foods so labeled.”
Help Gluten Free Watchdog raise awareness among FDA staff about the use of gluten-free claims and disclaimers by restaurants. Please take photos of actual menus that designate items as gluten-free yet provide a disclaimer about the suitability of the product for someone with celiac disease.
Send photos to firstname.lastname@example.org with “restaurant menu” in the subject line. Photos will be shared with FDA.