Letter to FDA Regarding Restaurant Use of the Term Gluten-Free on Menus

Letter to FDA Regarding Restaurant Use of the Term Gluten-Free on Menus

Gluten Free Watchdog’s second call to action for Celiac Disease Awareness Month 2019 was a request for the community to submit photos of restaurant menus that designate items as gluten-free yet provide a disclaimer about the lack of suitability for someone with celiac disease. The response was overwhelming. Thank you! A handful of the photos are included in the attached letter to FDA regarding restaurants and their use of the term “gluten-free”. Please read the letter and let me know if you have any questions. https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/RestaurantMenusCDAM2FDAPost.pdf

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Comments (4)

  • Andreea Reply

    Hi Tricia, have you received a response from FDA? I am celiac and deeply concerned with what’s going on in the US food industry. I’d love to join your efforts and help with getting restaurants to have to comply with the FDA ruling (by actually including them in the regulation).

    July 11, 2019 at 12:34 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      Hi Andrea, I’ve had a conversation with FDA staff about this issue. It will be very difficult to get FDA to change the regulation. Our best bet IMO is to increase awareness among restaurants that if a menu item is labeled gluten-free it should be gluten-free when served to the consumer. It isn’t enough that the ingredients are gluten-free. Cross contact must also be considered. FDA is supposed to be getting back to me about how consumers can best report restaurants who are using the term gluten-free incorrectly. I will continue to bug them.

      July 16, 2019 at 10:56 pm
  • Kara Reply

    I’m a restaurant owner and we bake our own bread and cook everything on one grill. It is very hard to adapt to the needs of a small percentage of people with a disease. We offer food that is inherently gluten free, but the environment will never be 100% gluten free due to the fact that gluten is airborne. Our health department suggests the disclaimer which I also agree with. Targeting restaurants like this is what makes them care less about supporting your cause.

    October 22, 2023 at 12:00 am
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      Hi Kara, Thanks for commenting. If you label or represent products on your menu as gluten-free, then they should be safe for someone with celiac disease. If you are concerned about the level of cross-contact in your restaurant, then please don’t label menu items as gluten-free. The term gluten-free should not be used as a selling point if products labeled gluten-free aren’t actually intended for those with celiac disease.

      October 22, 2023 at 8:56 pm

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