Sunday, February 12, 2012

Businesses know your consumer and Consumers be aware and educated!

Going Gluten free appears to be the latest trend. More and more people are going gluten free and more and more businesses are creating products. Unfortunately the businesses creating and selling products are not as aware of their consumers as they should. They do not seem to be aware of cross contamination and how it may affect those with Celiac Disease, one of their potential consumers. It seems as if they just see "gluten free" and  think, "oh this could sell." Earlier today I was at a sandwich shop, where I normally go to get a salad, however I had heard they were selling gluten free bread so I was excited. Being the educated consumer I asked all the questions, "Is they bread toasted in the same toaster as the regular bread?" and found out the answer was yes, making the gluten free bread no longer gluten free to those of us with Celiac disease and severe allergies. Sadly I had to say no to the sandwich and settle for a salad.

 If a business such as a sandwich shop in this case or even a pizza shop is going to sell a gluten free product they need to be aware of cross contamination. Yes no one can never really say with 100% certainty that a product is gluten free unless it is a gluten free facility, but simple precautions can be taken by a knowledgeable business that can reduce the chances for cross contamination. If a business is not willing to take those precautions they should not be selling a product as gluten free. As an example I was very wary of Subway when I heard they were product testing gluten free bread, however I read an article from Triumph Dining about the product testing stating that the owner of subway was very aware of the issues of cross contamination and was re-educating the staff in every subway running the product testing on how to make sandwiches and how to make the gluten free sandwiches so that the chances of cross contamination were greatly reduced. After reading the article I felt confident enough in their knowledge and set up of the business that I would try a gluten free sandwich at Subway if I ever got the chance.

As for gluten free consumers, we need to always be aware of the product we are purchasing whether it be looking at the package and reading the ingredients closely or asking questions of the servers if you are ordering from a restaurant. Always be aware gluten free may not always mean gluten free.