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Chefs and restaurateurs lack a fundamental understanding of gluten-free protocols, according to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA), a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness and improving the lives of those with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
"When most people dine out, they expect a meal that's safe to eat. Individuals with gluten-related disorders don't have that luxury," said Alice Bast, founder and president of NFCA.
Earlier this month, NFCA quizzed chefs and restaurateurs on the floor of the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago. Many of the chefs and restaurateurs said they have gluten-free options at their restaurants, yet less than 4 percent of them responded correctly to four questions regarding gluten.
"Less than 50 percent of chefs were able to name a gluten-containing grain other than wheat. That's shocking," Bast said. "It confirmed our fears ... They don't know what they don't know."
NFCA offers GREAT Kitchens, an online training program that includes multimedia modules providing education and tools that will enable restaurants to accommodate guests who are eating gluten-free.
Because of the growing demand, other gluten-free training programs also have been created recently, including Kitchens with Confidence's AllerTrain, an online 90-minute webinar focused on gluen- and allergy-free dining.
Included below are two of the four test questions administered by the NFCA at the NRA Show, in which only 4 percent of respondents passed.
1. Celiac disease is a genetic, auto-immune disease that is triggered by glucose.
True or False?
2. Gluten is a protein found in what 3 common grains? Can you name all 3?
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