Would you eat in a Certified "Food Allergy Awareness" Food service establishment

I have a gluten sensitivity and was lactose intolerant for a time and I am totally frustrated at eating out, because of the lack of knowledge on allergies and cross contamination by management, serving, and kitchen staff, and also the lack of choices. Because of this I am setting up a Food Allergy Training Consultancy to educate the Catering industry including all sectors of the Food service industry. I am currently carrying out research if CD or GF sufferers would eat at certified venues (would it give you more confidence?) as opposed to those venues who have completed on-line training or have in-house training (not specialised) If you are able to place comments below or email me at info@fatc.co.uk. I would also like to know if you would be willing to take part in market research in the future either for Allergy friendly foods, or venues (please send me your email)

Also I am interested in hearing stories both positive and negative of your eating out experiences in venues which have specific GF options.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post and for your support - "Eating out with confidence should be available to everyone"!!!

22 Replies

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  • In italy there is such a service and they are examined annually the food is great

  • Also I find that if you positively cultivate local restaurants and they know they are going to get business from you they will make you wonderful non cross contaminated food and a special eating out experience. I have given up on the chains.

  • I don't eat out often because it seems that I am an inconvience and I've had problems with being glutened. I did stay in a lovely little family run hotel recently being their website specified being able to cater for coeliacs and having a gluten free menu was wonderful. I do think education is the key and for a lot of people if they don't have to deal with allergies etc they don't take notice. I do think that their is more awareness now than say 10 years ago when I was first diagnosed with CD.

  • Hi Benjac, I don't enjoy eating out at all. Too many bad reactions after a 'gluten free' meal. I think your idea sounds great! It would certainly make a difference to me. It would be wonderful not to have to explain when you make a booking, when you speak to your waiter/waitress, and then still end up feeling rubbish when you get home! Most places I've been, when I've said I have to have gf, the soup still comes with huge slices of bread (!!), and baskets of bread are still produced as a 'treat' or an 'extra' from the kitchen (!!), and turning a meal gf simply means serving it without the gluten extra (ie, no sauce, no biscuits with cheese) and nothing else in its place so you actually end up paying MORE for LESS food!!! So Yes, I think you have come up with a great idea! Go for it!

  • Excellent idea; I'd echo all the things the others have said. Even when people want to feed you safely they still make mistakes, let alone the zillions who don't seem to have even given it a thought, despite the fact that everyone in a food setting that has even basic food safety training has had to answer questions on allergies and cross-contamination.

    I ate at Raymond Blanc's a while ago, and got a bit glutened. I wrote a blog about it (http://blissglutenfree.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/brasserie-blanc-gluten-free-menu-no.html) and sent a note to the company - they told me they found it very helpful as they hadn't thought about things such as the waitress carefully wiping my clean side of the table with the crumby cloth she had wiped my husbands side of the table with. So, even when people try they still don't think the thing all the way through. They wrote back to say they found the feedback very useful and were makng use of it.

    I considered doing the same thing a while ago. I used to run a consultancy business until I had to stop through ill health, which resolved when I gave up gluten, but never got around to it, so good luck and hope you prosper.

  • Hi Lois I will be looking for consultants to train to carry out Allergy Awareness training in other areas across country I am aiming to start in the south of England based in Hampshire if you are interested send me your CV to info@fatc.co.uk - I am keen to have allergy sufferers perform the training as they have a greater knoweldge and awareness of how bad you can feel with a contaminated product feel free to contact me

    Caroline

  • I would be very interested in completing your survey as I also have CD and am lactose intolerant, I have been given GF free meals to only suffer eating dry food, ( Sunday Lunch) even when I called and was told oh yes we cater for you. I had one slice of chicken and some veg, that was all and they charged me full price for this, needless to say not going there again. On the other hand had some wonderful meals my local Indian being one. I was told by a Manager why come to an italian resturant if you can't eat pasta.Great Idea Go for it.

  • The Italian restaurant manager's remark is particularly bonkers as so many Italian restaurants seem to have paid particular attention to making it easy for us to eat out and so much Italian food is naturally gf. Did you ask him/her "Why be a restaurant manager if you don't want people to have a nice meal?" :-)

  • No because it was in the early days of my GD and I was so upset just ruined my evening, and have not been near and Italian Resturant since. Iam stronger now and perhps would have made such a coment. :)

  • Bella Italia have a good GF menu not just one or two items they serve both pasta and Pizza (Although i don't think they serve dairy free cheese) They even served Garlic bread (at my suggestion) Pizza bread with garlic butter although it was expensive

  • Hya, have you come across:

    gluten.net/gfrap/

    It's Gluten free certification for restaurants organised by GIG:

    gluten.net/

    They have started their certification program in the Eu and have some places signed up already.

    I'd like to see dedicated gluten free cafe's/restaurants, being an idealist LOL.

  • salzado - just spent six weeks campervanning around Europe - Italy the best place to eat as everyone know what I meant when I said no gluten/showed them the coeliac card. After that I figure Italian restaurants ought to be the best place to eat in the UK.

  • Thanks for this info really useful

  • Hello, I would be very interested in helping by completing surveys or trying various places to eat. I have cd myself, and eat out rarely, as there are so very few places to go where you can be sure of the food.. Email me at pthreader@googlemail.com

  • That would be my idea of heaven. :)

  • Thank you for the information, It really is great to have other suffers the feeling of being "alone" is so real, I know now that I can come on this site, and that makes me happy.:}

  • This sounds like a brilliant idea! I feel like crying just at the thought of it!

    Here's a story for you.... when at a "chain" restaurant I explained to our waitress that I was gluten intolerant and she nodded very enthusiastically like she totally understood. She then offered us some bread sticks to eat while we were waiting for our meal....!!!!???? Arrrrrgggghhhhh!!!

  • Hi, I've eaten in 2 dedicated GF restaurants, one in wolverhampton (not sure if it's still there) and one in Weston Super Mare and in both the food was dreadful...... I've found that finding a good local restaurant where they cook everything from scratch seems to be the way forward. I have a small selection of about 5 places where the chef is very happy to cook for me and nothing is too much trouble.

    I think too many coeliacs think that they can get away with eating in the large pub /restaurant chains where food is centrally produced (which can be good for us) but which is sold cheap because they don't pay their staff in the establishments highly which means a high turnover of staff and they don't train their staff.

    I have found eating out in Europe to be a great pleasure but here and in the USA a different kettle of fish altogether. European countries do seem to cook from scratch whereas here and in America food is mass produced and bulked out with allsorts.

    I personally think that before we tackle all the restaurants in this country we should perhaps look at hospitals where so few ever cater for us which I feel is a much more important issue.

  • Just checking that you got my email yesterday in response to your post. I think this would be a fantastic idea and was a consultant in my previous incarnation before cake! I've had loads of issues whilst dining out as a fellow Coeliac and Wheat Intolerance sufferer. I would also be interested in offering my services if you are looking for people? Hope you received the email?

  • I was thinking only the other day that all restaurant/kitchen staff should undergo training for food intolerances/special diets. I was diagnosed with CD in April and havent eaten out since, not that I was ever that keen on eating out anyway, but for the odd occasion, when entertaining or a family celebration, it would be nice to know that I could eat somewhere safely and without being a nuisance. I have since given up all dairy as I was still getting symptoms after cutting out all gluten (which seems to be ok so far). I also thought that a dedicated gluten free/wheat free restaurant would be fantastic and I would look into it myself if I had the money and was that passionate about cooking....I can dream though :)

  • jmjhoh, it's really common to have problems with dairy at first. Once your gut heals you will probably find that you can restart eating it all again. We are also told to avoid GF oats for the first 12 months as well.

  • I would love this as I have completely curtailed my eating out which is very limiting.

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