With a little preparation beforehand and during your visit to a restaurant you will be well on your way to enjoying a good experience. The Society provides Eating Out cards, which are available in many languages, including English, and can be given to a waiter or chef.
The cards provide information on the diet and a suggested menu and can be helpful in trying to communicate what you need. Call the office to order.
Allergen Information in Restaurants
From December 2014 caterers must be able to provide you with information on any allergens, including cereals containing gluten in all dishes that they serve. This means that if wheat, rye, barley or oats are in the ingredients they will have to tell you. The allergen information must be provided in written format and in a conspicuous place, easily visible to the consumer.
Before you go
Although caterers have to provide allergen information for dishes that they serve, they don’t have to offer a gluten free meal so it is best to telephone or drop in beforehand to check that they are familiar with the condition and are able to cater for someone on a gluten-free diet. It is also worthwhile to check their website to ensure that they understand the following:
- The gluten-free diet is not just a problem with wheat. Wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt, KAMUT® khorasan wheat and their derivatives all contain gluten.
- The diet is affected by many processed foods, where there may be modified starch, malt extract, or cereal fillers. Gravy, dressings, ice cream, sauces, powders, mustards, processed cheese, and processed meat are some examples of products where this can be a problem.
- Cross-contamination must be avoided. Suggest that they cook your food separately with uncontaminated water / oil and handle all your food with clean utensils.
The chef and maitre d’ may find it useful to read the catering section of this website.
At the restaurant
Talk to the waiter and explain why you can’t eat gluten and what you can and cannot eat.
Discuss what menu items might be suitable and check the ingredients in soups, sauces, gravies, and stuffings. You will also want to check how the chips are cooked.
- If they’re not familiar with dealing with the gluten-free diet show them your Eating Out card.
- In a busy establishment information is often lost between multiple staff so ensure that you politely question anything that you are uncertain of.
- Highlight what foods are naturally gluten-free and suitable to eat. You may want to provide examples of what is not gluten free. For example, breadcrumbs, croutons, pearl barley, cous cous, wheat flour sauces, and gravies.
- Ask enough questions so that you feel confident that the staff fully understand your dietary requirements.
- Despite your best efforts there will be times when your food arrives and it is obviously contaminated. For example your salad arrives with croutons. When this happens you will need to make sure the staff understand that a new dish needs to be prepared and that simply removing the croutons is not acceptable due to cross-contamination.
What to do if you think there was gluten in your meal
If you were sold a gluten-free meal and think your meal contained gluten and you wish to complain please follow the advice of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) on complaining. The Society does not police or report restaurants. You could also let the manager know about the information available to caterers on this website.