Chow Bella

What's a Restaurant's Responsibility Regarding Gluten-Free Items?

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See also: 25 Thanksgiving Dinner Tips from Valley Chefs

Aaron Eckburg Owner, Go Lb. Salt

"To offer" or "not to offer" is a choice. Once the choice "to offer" is made, then the responsibility is undeniable. The term gluten-free means just that: not "mostly" gluten-free or "pretty much" gluten-free, but gluten-free. Those who are gluten intolerant may be able to consume nominal amounts of gluten, but for those who have been diagnosed as celiac's, as little as 20 ppm gluten content can turn their life upside down for days. Cross contamination is something that must be closely scrutinized and scrupulously prevented if gluten-free options are offered. Realistically, gluten contamination is the same thing as food poisoning or allergen components and the responsibility in those cases is crystal clear.

Pauline Martinez Chef and Owner, Perk Eatery

It's so hard for restaurants to keep up with all the dietary restrictions nowadays. For us, it's a space issue -- we don't have any and it's difficult to carry new items that are not fast movers. For places that have the space, it's good to provide an alternative for gluten since it has become so common place.

Chef Maurice Gordon, The Westin Phoenix Downtown

I think the restaurant's responsibility is to make sure there are options for anyone who chooses to dine. However, I don't think restaurants should be required to have gluten-free items on their menu. It should still be the diner's responsibility to alert the restaurant of their gluten allergy and the severity of their allergy.

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Laura Hahnefeld
Contact: Laura Hahnefeld