Tip of the Week

What is Coeliac Disease and how do you cater for customers requiring gluten free foods?  Are you fully aware of this disease and how to avoid cross contamination of gluten in your kitchen?

Here are a few facts

Coeliac disease is not a food allergy or an intolerance, but an autoimmune disease caused by a reaction to gluten.  Gluten is a protein found in grains, wheat, rye and barley.  Some people with coeliac disease are also sensitive to oats.  Gluten is also found in many favourite foods such as fish fingers, sausages, veggie sausages/burgers, gravies, sauces, stock cubes, soy sauce, salad dressings, soups and vinegar.

Tips to avoid cross contamination in your busy kitchen

Gluten-free food can be contaminated by food that contains gluten during preparation.  Sources of contamination include:-

  • Breadcrumbs or flour on work surfaces or chopping boards
  • Utensils used for spreading butter, chutney, etc. onto bread
  • Not washing hands between handling bread and gluten free bread.
  • Incorrect labelling of gluten free products
  • Correct storage of gluten free products (store above foods containing gluten to ensure no cross contamination)

To avoid cross contamination when preparing a gluten free meal in a kitchen containing gluten – clean and sanitise work surfaces, use a clean chopping board, clean utensils and wash hands before preparing the food.  If you use a lot of gluten free bread, using a purple colour coded board may be useful.

Alert

If your kitchen is small and it is difficult to 100% guarantee that you can provide gluten free food, even though the dish has no gluten in the ingredients, that is fine as long as you tell your customers this so they can make an informed decision.

Weekly Food Fact

Did you know that Gluten is the Latin word for “glue”.  It is a group of naturally occurring proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and other grains.  Gluten can be present in foods you would not expect such as dressings, sauces, stocks, etc.

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