The information here will help you and your staff to prepare gluten-free food safely. Preparing gluten-free food requires extra precautions in procurement, storage, hygiene, preparation and service.
First of all it’s a good idea to know the basics of coeliac disease.
Kitchen staff need to be aware of:
It is important that if it is not possible to provide a safe gluten-free meal, then say so!
Use these guidelines for sourcing ingredients for gluten-free food.
A Catering List is available to help you find suppliers of gluten-free manufactured products and provides a lot of information besides.
Gluten-free raw ingredients need to be stored in their original closed packages or in covered containers in a separate and marked area in the store, cupboards or shelves. Attach the labels that the raw ingredient arrived with to the container. Storing prepared gluten-free products ready to eat must be arranged separately so that there is no risk of mixing gluten-free products with ordinary products. Bread and confectionery products must be covered and marked even if they are to be served soon.
Good hygiene for gluten-free food preparation requires extra precautions. Persons handling gluten-free products must understand that gluten-free products may get contaminated with flour dust carried on hands, clothes, work surfaces and in the air. There must be a cleaning plan in place and a person in charge of its implementation. Critical control points include work surfaces, cooling and storing areas and floors. Temporary workforce must also be guided in preventing gluten contamination by hygiene and working methods.
Preparation starts with the ingredients and the recipe. All ingredients must be gluten-free when preparing meals for coeliacs. Ensure that none of the ingredients have become "cross-contaminated" by other foods containing gluten. In practise gluten-free products are prepared with the same equipment, dishes and utensils as ordinary products in large kitchens and there is a risk of gluten contamination.
Once food has been prepared plates and dishes of gluten-free food must be clearly marked as gluten-free. It may be useful to serve gluten-free food on a different coloured plate to gluten containing food to alert front-of-house staff.