Yes…a rare late afternoon blog post. Two cups of coffee and an espresso and I’m UP! I’ll make it a quick one.
So on my mobile app for the celiac community, we have a restaurant directory of over 2,600 restaurants (with more added every day). The restaurants are placed in one of two categories.
- 100% gluten-free (YAY!)
- Not 100% gluten-free but recommended by someone in the celiac community and then personally vetted by myself or someone on my team. And when I say team, I mean one other person. We contact the restaurant, explain who we are and what the app is about and ask them specific questions about cross-contamination and the precautions they take. If they seem to “get it” and take specific precautions, they are added to the app and they are noted with a CC (cross-contamination). If not (or if they don’t respond), they do not get added.
Guaco Taco in Leander, Texas has been on the app from day 1 and they are listed as a 100% gluten-free establishment. But today, I received a message on the app that Guaco Taco is no longer dedicated GF nor are they safe because they “have added flour items to their menu, cooked on shared surface. And fries coated in wheat fried in a shared fryer.”
My first reaction? Total bummer and a loss for the celiac community. But of course I had to confirm before taking them off the app. So I went to their website. No mention of adding gluten. Facebook page same thing. Now of course this could mean nothing, as maybe they just did not update their sites yet. Then I checked out Find Me Gluten Free and two recent reviews said they same thing: they now use flour, shared surfaces and the same fryer. Pretty much the same verbiage as the message to me.
So finally I call the restaurant. The owner answers the phone and I ask if the restaurant was no longer 100% gluten-free. Her response was one of exasperation. “YES…she said…we are still 100% gluten-free!” I tell her that I heard they have added flour to some of their menu items. They did. RICE AND TAPIOCA FLOUR (that’s me shouting…not her). She said a celiac Facebook group posted the misinformation and of course the word spread. She was very sweet, but beyond frustrated. Understandable of course.
So short term…if you are in the Leander, Texas area, Guaco Taco is open for business and is safe to eat at. Tell them I sent ya.
But long term…Facebook has been an issue for the celiac community for awhile now. There’s the fearmongering (gluten is in EVERYTHING). There’s the bad advice (McDonald’s is celiac safe). And of course, there’s always the drama.
Mind you…none of these apply to my Facebook page (lol).
What’s the answer? Besides dropping Facebook, I don’t know. Just please…before spreading anything that could potentially hurt a small business, or a fellow celiac…think twice about what your posting. Do your due diligence. Ask questions.
We’re all in this journey together.