Is your toaster gluten free?
The Healthy Loaf has been running a competition to win a medium sampler box of our yummy 100% gluten free range, made in a 100% gluten free environment and a new Russell Hobbs toaster. We’ve received a few comments that a toaster was an odd choice for a giveaway but it actually makes perfect sense, families with coeliac and non-coeliac members know why!
For people with coeliac disease even a crumb of gluten can make them unwell and contribute to serious long-term health consequences. Having a separate toaster that is used only for gluten free bread is essential for food safety in some homes–so it might as well be a nice one! This is also something hospitality businesses should give serious consideration to if they want to serve coeliac customers safely and build the confidence of their customers so they become happy, loyal customers.
Some tips to serve Coeliacs safely
Keep it separate, keep it safe
Having surfaces, utensils, and appliances that are only gluten free is important, colour coding or stickers can be helpful.
Keep it clean and think small
Maintaining high levels of cleanliness in food preparation is always important but also thinking about the small things like using clean gloves, and cleaning cloths that haven’t been in contact with gluten can make a big difference. Gluten can also contaminate food and surfaces from the air so if you bake with gluten flours this is another dynamic you must give thought to.
Be mindful and do your research
Understanding what ingredients are gluten free in your kitchen and products sometimes isn’t as simple as it sounds but building awareness solves half the problem. For example, converting a hamburger to gluten free means more than just substituting the bread roll for a gluten free option. You have to consider if there are bread crumbs in the burger patty? Is there gluten derived ingredients in condiments? Or, have any components of the meal been at risk of cross contamination in their manufacture?
None of these steps mean it’s particularly difficult to shift toward gluten free food safety. It takes some planning, awareness and a little research, to check all your ingredients are safe or to find a good alternative. There definitely is more to coeliac safety than just not eating gluten bread.
We hope this has offered a little insight into the types of things people with Coeliac disease must consider when they’re learning to live on a strict gluten free diet. And, that this helps hospitality professionals understand some of the legitimate questions customers might have, when they eat at your venue. Understanding why your customers need this information, being able to answer their questions thoroughly and demonstrating your team’s awareness builds consumer confidence and loyalty, so it’s a win-win!!