Gluten Allergy | Gluten Cross-Contamination | Gluten-Free in Restaurants | Allergy

Gluten-free and Contamination at the Store

by Allergy Guy

A gluten-free cookie was just the thing for my afternoon snack, but I had to leave the store empty-handed. Why? Cross-contamination with wheat at the cookie jar.

There’s nothing better than sitting in the sun at the Bridgehead patio, tea at hand, and a gluten free cookie or two from Thyme and Again, just up the street. True enough, there are better things than this, but it’s still pretty good.

On an early fall day, one of the last days that sitting out side in short sleeves despite the wind will be appealing, I fancy tea and cookies in the sun. They have to be gluten-free cookies because I have a gluten allergy.

I’ve had gluten-free cookies from Thyme and Again before. They tell me they do all their gluten-free baking first thing in the morning, after everything is clean and devoid of wheat flour remnants from the day before, and before it is contaminated again from today’s gluten/wheat baking.

On this particular day, someone is ahead of me, buying cookies.  I over-hear the server ask if the gluten-free cookies need to be kept separate from the others. The answer is no.

I watch as the server use the same tongs just used for serving wheat cookies to grab a gluten-free cookie.  I am shocked!

In the past, I’ve seen other servers be very diligent about using a clean set of tongs to serve me my gluten-free cookies. And now I see someone potentially contaminating the whole jar.

“I need you to keep them separate” I exclaimed! The server kind of winced, knowing she was wrong. I left empty-handed.  I’m just not willing to risk my health, well-being, and energy to the risk of a wheat crumb. It’s just not worth it.

It leaves me questioning future gluten-free purchases at Thyme and Again, or anywhere else that sells both gluten-free and wheat-based baking.

Sometimes I just don’t feel that great after eating out, no matter how diligent I am.  On the other hand, being super-careful and never taking any risks leads to a very limited social life and eating entertainment opportunities.

How do you handle the risks of eating out, especially buying baked goods at stores that also sell gluten-contaminated products? Are you celiac, gluten allergy, or just prefer to avoid gluten?

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