Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Best Gluten Free Hamburgers (with GF bun)

1. Stacked: Food Well Built - I've eaten the burgers twice at their Thousand Oaks location.  Great! Lots of GF options. Ipad ordering shows exactly what is GF and the management is well aware of cross contamination issues and how to avoid them. The GF buns and burgers would fool a non-celiac. My burger (one of them) included double patties, two cheeses, lettuce, tomato, garlic aioli sauce, bacon, a scrambled egg, and more than I can remember.  Keep up the good work.  Photos to follow when I get around to it. Other locations in Torrance, Cerritos, and San Diego.

2. ????????????

I'd love to add to this list, though it is hard to find gluten free hamburgers that have a bun rather than just a lettuce wrap.  Let me know if there are others I should try...please don't recommend places that you know cross contaminate the bun or burger during cooking.

FDA finally defines "gluten-free" for food labeling

This came out on August 2nd, 2013...nice to know they are finally doing something about this issue...too bad it only takes effect after about year.  (technically a year and 30 days after August 2nd).

Let's hope they do something about restaurants and companies that knowingly cross contaminate their products, but still advertise them as being gluten-free.

If you have questions: 1-888-INFO-FDA

You may find the original news release on the FDA website through this link.
I have copied the information below.

FDA defines “gluten-free” for food labeling

New rule provides standard definition to protect the health of Americans with celiac disease

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today published a new regulation defining the term "gluten-free" for voluntary food labeling. This will provide a uniform standard definition to help the up to 3 million Americans who have celiac disease, an autoimmune digestive condition that can be effectively managed only by eating a gluten free diet.

“Adherence to a gluten-free diet is the key to treating celiac disease, which can be very disruptive to everyday life,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. “The FDA’s new ‘gluten-free’ definition will help people with this condition make food choices with confidence and allow them to better manage their health.”

This new federal definition standardizes the meaning of “gluten-free” claims across the food industry. It requires that, in order to use the term "gluten-free" on its label, a food must meet all of the requirements of the definition, including that the food must contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten. The rule also requires foods with the claims “no gluten,” “free of gluten,” and “without gluten” to meet the definition for “gluten-free.” 

The FDA recognizes that many foods currently labeled as “gluten-free” may be able to meet the new federal definition already. Food manufacturers will have a year after the rule is published to bring their labels into compliance with the new requirements.

“We encourage the food industry to come into compliance with the new definition as soon as possible and help us make it as easy as possible for people with celiac disease to identify foods that meet the federal definition of ‘gluten-free’” said Michael R. Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine.

The term "gluten" refers to proteins that occur naturally in wheat, rye, barley and cross-bred hybrids of these grains.  In people with celiac disease, foods that contain gluten trigger production of antibodies that attack and damage the lining of the small intestine. Such damage limits the ability of celiac disease patients to absorb nutrients and puts them at risk of other very serious health problems, including nutritional deficiencies, osteoporosis, growth retardation, infertility, miscarriages, short stature, and intestinal cancers. 

The FDA was directed to issue the new regulation by the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA), which directed FDA to set guidelines for the use of the term “gluten-free” to help people with celiac disease maintain a gluten-free diet.

The regulation was published today in the Federal Register2.
For more information:

El Pollo Loco's Not So Gluten Free Menu (not much of a menu when you factor in cross contamination)

Not to go off on a rant, but most of the items on El Pollo Loco's hyped Gluten Free menu are NOT celiac friendly.  It is great that they want to serve gluten free food, but after speaking with their guest services telephone number....I think it would be hard to make a truly gluten free meal.

For example, the fries and taquitos are cross contaminated in the fryer.  The chicken (something that I thought should be fine) is also NOT ok, as it is chopped in the same location as the chicken marinated in soy sauce (which contains wheat).  The customer service representative was kind enough to point out that many other items on the gluten free menu are probably also cross contaminated, and that I should check carefully with the restaurant manager before ordering.

Ask them yourself by calling 1-877-375-4968 (5am-9pm Pacific Time, seven days a week).

Why is there no corporate concern about cross contamination? Maybe the FDA will get involved when their gluten free food labeling law finally takes effect in August of 2014...