Thursday, August 22, 2013

Farro: It is *not* gluten-free

Today, while eating at one of my favorite places for lunch, I had an very unfortunate experience.

I go to this place because their menu changes daily and they use fresh ingredients.  Best of all, they clearly mark what items are gluten-free, which is usually a majority of them.  Score!  I have been going here for years, and I trust them when they say something is gluten-free.  It is so comforting to have a place like this.

And because of these reasons above is why today's experience was so disappointing to me.

I noticed on their daily menu that one item contained farro, and it was listed as gluten-free.  I figured I would tell them about the mistake before someone got sick.  The response I received was surprising.  The server assured me they had done research and farro was safe, and the least gluten of all the wheat grains.  I probably had to pull my jaw up from the floor at this point, as I just didn't have words, and of course did not order that lunch item.  The server, who I can only assume does not have celiac himself, was telling me it was gluten-free!

My own crisis was averted when I ordered something not containing any grains, gluten-free or otherwise.

Later, I emailed the owner to let him know about this mistake and that just because something is "low gluten", it is not free of gluten, and should not be listed as so.  This is a place, I and many others have come to trust, and if all the sudden they are marking items gluten-free, when they should not be gluten-free, how can I continue to trust it?

Imagine, if a friend, or a co-worker were to pick up lunch there for you, and since it is labeled as "gluten-free", it is assumed to be safe.  And then you eat it, because you also assume it must be safe.  Only to be sick later.

Farro is an ancient variety of wheat grown in Italy.  It *is* wheat, folks!  It contains gluten!!  And while it may contain less gluten than other commercially grown wheat, it is not free of gluten.  Those with celiac should not eat farro, period.

When I hear back from the owner, I will update here.  Until then, have you ever had a similar experience?  Have you lost trust in a restaurant or company that you felt was a trusted source when labeling their items gluten-free?

1 comment:

  1. I've never had this type of experience, but it's always in the back of my mind when I go out to eat. Finding places that provide safe but delicious gluten free food is definitely not easy, and stories like these make the challenge even more foreboding! Hopefully, people will become more educated with time so we won't have to deal with this type of "service!"