Tip of the Week
What is Coeliac Disease and how do you cater for customers requiring gluten free foods?
How do you 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.
Gluten-free food can be contaminated by food that contains gluten during preparation. Sources of contamination include:-
- If you use flour extensively throughout your kitchen there could be flour in the air – therefore although there is no gluten as an ingredient in the product, it could potentially be contaminated with gluten during preparation in the kitchen.
- If you put burger buns on the chargrill to toast, ensure there is always an area of the chargrill never used for this so you can ensure foods needing to be gluten free do not pick up breadcrumbs
- Flour or bread crumbs can attach to cloths or tea towels and spread around the kitchen – never put a cloth on a work surface during food prep or service
- 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 gluten free foods 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 surface, use a clean chopping board and 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.
To provide fully Gluten Free dishes, they must be prepared in a separate area of the kitchen where you can guarantee the ingredients are not contaminated by any gluten.
If your kitchen is small and it is difficult to 100% guarantee you can provide gluten free food, (even though the dish has no gluten in the ingredients there could be flour in the air) let your customers know. For example – “Please note that our kitchen is small and we use flour and gluten extensively throughout the kitchen. So, even if gluten is not an ingredient in the product, we are unable to guarantee the dish is 100% gluten free”. Your customers are then able to make an informed decision.
Just one breadcrumb can make a person who is Coeliac ill. Information is key to avoiding an allergy incident.
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 which you would not expect such as dressings, sauces, stocks etc.
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