Can you burn off gluten? And other common myths.

There are so many myths and misconceptions around managing food allergies in a commercial kitchen. Here are just a few of them:

You can burn gluten crumbs off food.

Gluten is a protein molecule, and you can't kill a molecule. So no, you cannot burn away gluten crumbs, no matter how hot your grill or fryer is. The fact is, if there has been gluten-containing food on a cooking or any surface, that surface is now contaminated and will make someone with Coeliac Disease seriously ill. Wash down all surfaces, or keep separate and easily-identified chopping boards, pans and utensils. Use a toaster bag (hyperlink) to stop crumbs contaminating gluten free bread in a toaster or grill. And take care serving the food so any crumbs from your apron or teatowel aren't transported onto the plate. Consider keeping a fresh and easily-identified set of aprons and teatowels (hyperlink) for your allergic customers.

There's only a little bit of gluten/peanuts/dairy etc. A tiny bit won't hurt.

Only 1/100th of a piece of bread will make someone with Coeliac Disease seriously ill. Like a sniff of peanut butter may bring on an anaphylactic attack in someone with peanut anaphylaxis. Again, think KISS - Keep It Separate. Simple.

The pizza is gluten free

Did you prepare the gluten free pizza base on the same board as the rest of the pizza? Cook it next to other pizza? Cut it with the same cutter as other pizza? Guess what! It's no longer gluten free. Remember that one crumb will contaminate it, so think KISS and have separate utensils ready.

The chips are gluten free

As above! If you fry them using the same oil that you fry other gluten battered-products in, then it's contaminated and no longer safe. Keep a small, inexpensive air fryer for these occasions, and use it for wedges, to heat up pies and other allergy foods too.

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