The Harvester restaurant: Not really a... - Gluten Free Guerr...

Gluten Free Guerrillas

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The Harvester restaurant

Janeyh profile image
18 Replies

Not really a question but think everyone should be aware... I went to the Harvester for a meal last week and asked for their gluten free menu, they didn't have one to hand so they printed one off for me which I thought was lovely of them. When the waitress came back to my table for me to order I double checked to make sure what I wanted really was gluten free, "yes" she said "everything on the printout is gluten and wheat free but they do use the same utensils, pots, pans and cookers as the normal food" so I said "oh, so then my gluten free food will be contaminated"? "yes" she replied "so its not really worth me looking at the gluten free menu then"? I said. She shrugged......

18 Replies
meanioni profile image

You should refer them to the local Environmental Health department as if they are declaring it as gluten free, they have a legal duty to deliver it!

Also would write to their manager and complain, reminding them of their statutory duty. I did this with a five star hotel who were similarly lax and the manager was so horrified he engaged retraining of their staff (and gave us a free (gluten free) meal).

MaryF profile image

Yes the same could be said for Prezzo!

barny profile image

i go to a pub in sedley uk its a carvery and asked about gf wich they did it was lovley to see some were that was so helpfull so it is nice to know some think cus its gf they can use same utensils

pretender profile image

I go to a Harvester in Ashford, Kent. never ask for a gluten free menu, I talk to the staff about the foods and decide from there and never had a problem.

I even found a coeliac waitress there who like me prefers to ask rather than rely on menu's

Inthelandoftheblind profile image
Inthelandoftheblind in reply to pretender

I don't understand your reply.

If you read the persons comment she asked for the menu and then spoke to the waitress who informed her of probable cross contamination in the kitchen, which contradicts their gluten free decleration.

Are you stupid?

Kitche profile image
Kitche in reply to Inthelandoftheblind

They clearly cater for gluten free if some of there food is gluten free, some people choose to go on a gluten free diet so there for will not become ill if it is cross contaminated, if you say you got coliacs then they should refuse to serve you.

Enquiring profile image

Unfortunately I have found that most places selling gluten free food don't guarantee that it hasn't been contaminated either because of utencils used in common or the use of flour ingredients in the same kitchen. Some, although labeling cakes as gluten free, then have a notice explaining that they have been made in the same environment in which non gluten free cakes have been made and cannot guarantee they are gluten free. (In contrast I believe pre packaged food cannot be labeled gluten free unless made and

packaged in a safe environment.) However does this mean they circumvent having a legal duty to deliver a gluten free uncontaminated product with this declaration? Because if not I can think of a few places I could write to!! Others don't tell you at all unless you ask the right questions, so if they do have a legal duty to provide a gluten free product they are acting illegally! Most places also display the gluten free alternatives alongside the gluten products! That gives me many more places I could write to! They seem to think it's ok to leave people to decide themselves whether they have a sever enough problem to worry about cross contamination and think that this is still providing adequately for gluten free people, but it's not helping people who are strictly gluten free, so it's really only paying lip service to a sever medical problem!!! In reality I think most places do not have the space to provide a separate dedicated gluten free kitchen, so probably everytime we eat out we take a risk!! :-( I assumed that this was our choice, it never occured to me that they might be doing something legally wrong! Problem is, if I did write to all these places, I think the end result would more likely be that nothing would then be offered as being in any way gluten free rather than the alternative!!

windymillersue profile image

Last time i went to a harvester, i chose very carefully (not much choice for me with other intolerances) however still felt very ill after, so never again. So thats all my family, five customers they have lost

LHine profile image

Personally, I would rather be told there was nothing I could safely eat than be ill for a month after (which has happened to me recently). I always have a bar I can eat in my bag, to stop me making foolish choices due to a sugar crash! It's a tricky predicament, but I'm hopeful that, with more people getting diagnosed, it will keep getting easier for us to stay well. This forum helps a lot. Thanks everyone.

dobido profile image

I think i may of had the same problem with wetherspoons on monday i asked about g/f and was told it would be made in a seperate area of the kitchen, i had gammon steak and choose jacket potato instead of the chips but i,ve been ill since,if everything was g/f then i guess they must of used the same utensils. The shift manager did give me a nutritional and allergen information sheet which tells you what every meal is, welst looking at it i was surprized to see that their chicken tikka masalla is classed as g/f as long as you don,t have the nann bread, Surely they wouldn,t batch make the g/f curry as the curry sauces and paste that are g/f are alot dearer than normal.I went in harvester and just had a soda water welst people ate as the salad bar had croutons in the same area and some where in other salad bowls surely put in by other customers

meanioni profile image
meanioni in reply to dobido

I had problems in wetherspoons once when I had a gammon steak. Turns out although the gammon was gluten free, they cooked it on a griddle that was also used for burgers and there was cross-contamination.

Re gluten free curry, with last year's poor weather, wheat prices are high because of poor crop yields, so manufacturers are tending to use other flours as thickeners. So not a huge surprise to see a gluten free curry.

saltyswamp profile image

It would be best to avoid A Harvester and go to a local Pub/Resturant where they know about gluten free. Harvester's only pub grub any way

Elisesmummy profile image

Hiya, I went to a Little Chef recently with my 3 year old daughter (who is the coeliac in our family) and asked for the gluten free menu. On the menu was "the stewed apple inside the apple pie". Seriously? Something tells me they haven't got to grips with what it means to be gluten free :-) Thankfully they do jacket potatoes with Heinz baked beans so we were ok, but still...

cas4u2 profile image

Its sad about the Harvester because they are trying to provide Gluten Free meal options for people which is a major step forward to what we used to get....which was zilch! Maybe they just need to learn a bit more about the cross contamination and provide a 'gluten free' section in their kitchens.

Although I have a wheat allergy and loads of intolerances etc I am one of the lucky ones and not Coeliac...I know the staff in my local harvester and always remind them of Gluten Free for me and, touch wood, I very rarely have any issues.

I reckon I need to chat to the Manager and see if he can set the way forward for all Harvesters!!! May be a good starting point to help all you poor folk that do suffer so badly!?!?!

I'm on the case!! ;)

FionaGFG profile image

The only way you will get things to change is by emailing Harvester head office and as others have suggested also reporting them to environmental health and trading standards. I would also suggest as we've said many times on here before that you never talk to waiters and instead always ask to see chain managers as they are normally much more aware of gluten free - take responsibility and can actually make a difference to how your meal is cooked. Also avoid anywhere with 'buffet' style food c'mon - the other customers will mix all the serving tongs up. Instead spend your money with brands that do make an effort like ASK, Zizzi, La Tasca, Nandos, Cote Brasserie, Pierre Bistrot, and your local restaurants which will have the time to listen to your needs.

Let us know how your complaint goes. A poor newbie would easily be glutened by such service.

The harvester I use is great...very careful, salad fetched fresh....wonderful. I think they vary unfortunately, much like many places. I do always go through the whole cc though and leave them worrying that I'll drop down dead if the mess p

dobido profile image

I go to harvesters on special occasions if the chef is told you need it gluten free they can cook steaks and such on a part of the grill that as no had contamined food on it alot of places do that I always ask to speak to chef or the manager of that shift . One thing I noticed last time they have moved the fried onion bacon bits and croutons away from the salad bar unfortunately they still have pasta salads on the free salad bar so could contaminate other salad items

dobido profile image

It's hard to believe they never had a bag of peas in freezer

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