So you’ve gotten your Celiac or NCGS (non celiac gluten sensitivity) diagnosis and all you can think about is all the things you can never eat again. No more pizza, no more bread, no more cake, pie, biscuits, cookies, etc.
Then you see that your favourite pizza joint has a gluten free crust option, the pub down the street has gluten free burger buns and your neighbourhood grocery store has a gluten free section filled with gluten free buns, cookies and other goodies. Sure they cost more but they’re gluten free and that means safe to eat, right?
Not so fast.
Many “gluten free” items are not actually produced in a dedicated gluten free environment and there is a very real risk of cross contamination. The same goes for the pizza joint down the street. They may have a gluten free crust, that’s not made with wheat, but it’s very likely that same GF crust will be on a counter or pizza oven that has been contaminated with wheat flour and that’s enough gluten to cause damage to your system that can take weeks to repair. They’re safe for the people who are avoiding gluten for diet or health reasons but are not Celiac or NCGS.
I’d suggest when in doubt, and honestly you should always be in doubt, talk to the chef at a restaurant and contact the manufacturer of packaged goods before you eat them.
I have a pub nearby with a Celiac chef. The main menu of the pub is not gluten friendly but I know the chef will take care to avoid cross contamination when he cooks and plates my food. He’s even let me know when he’s changed the oil in the fryers, meaning I can have french fries without risk of cross contamination from onion rings, battered fish and chicken wings that are cooked in the same fryer. Not all restaurant staff understand gluten and cross contamination but if you take the time to talk to restaurant managers and chefs you can find some you are confident in.