Gluten-free menus: A must-have for millions
The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness estimates that about three million Americans have celiac disease. The good news for these consumers is that the number of gluten-free food products has grown tremendously in the last few years.
“The bad news is that all those who have celiac disease must avoid any restaurant that does not have a gluten-free menu prepared and served without a trace of gluten,” emphasizes Alice Bast, founder and president of NFCA. “That generally means our family and friends avoid those restaurants, too.”
How to develop and provide a gluten-free menu:
Understand the commitment
Even a speck of gluten, as small as the size of a grain of sand, can contaminate a gluten-free item and cause havoc to someone with celiac disease. Therefore, if your restaurant commits to offering and promoting a gluten-free menu, you must commit to it all the way.
Identify and/or develop gluten-free options
Gluten can be hidden in seasonings, sauces, flavorings and other ingredients. A thorough analysis of all ingredients, including all sub-recipes and purchased and prepared items, is needed to assess whether there are any traces of gluten present.
Train staff to eliminate any possibility of cross contamination
Cross contamination means that a gluten-containing product has come into contact with items termed gluten-free. NFCA has expert trainers who can visit your restaurant and work in-person with your staff.
Promote the gluten-free menu
Once a restaurant has achieved the above steps, it is ready to launch a gluten-free menu and begin attracting new guests seeking restaurants.
Excerpted from www.NRN.com Food and Beverage, October 21, 2010