Gluten free diets are spruiked by Hollywood actors, and supermarket shelves are becoming increasingly dominated by gluten free products.
It’s not surprising then, that health conscious customers and patients alike are asking for gluten free menu options. And market surveys show that gluten free is the most frequent special diet request in food services(1).
For those with coeliac disease (an immune disease caused by gluten), as little as 50mg of gluten (equivalent to 1/100th of a slice of standard wheat bread) can damage the small intestine(2).
Simple procedures in the kitchen can reduce the risk of gluten cross contamination and protect the health of your most sensitive customers:
- Separate butter and condiment containers to prevent gluten containing crumb contamination.
- Store gluten free products and ingredients in clearly labelled separate sealed containers once they have been removed from original packaging.
- Thoroughly clean bread boards, knives and other cooking utensils used in food preparation.
- Ensure toasters, sandwich makers and grills are clean before preparing gluten free foods.
- Use separate water in a clean pot for cooking or re-heating gluten free pasta. Use a separate strainer for gluten free pasta or strain it first.
- Don’t dust meats or fish with flour prior to cooking.
- Don’t dust cake tins with gluten containing flour (including wheaten cornflour).
- Icing sugar mixture commonly contains wheat so keep this in mind when dusting cakes and slices. Gluten free icing sugar mixture is available.
- Use separate utensils for serving gluten free baked items and keep displayed gluten free items separate from gluten containing items.
- Clean deep frying oil regularly to remove visible batter or crumbs to ensure gluten free fried food is not contaminated.
1. BIS Market Report 2013
2. Coeliac Australia www.coeliac.org.au accessed May 2014