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44 Comments

  1. 1

    Christine

    I had a similar situation at work. I used to have a client who had Dementia and I needed to encourage her to eat her meals (often in a busy dining room that had a restaurant like atmosphere). I ate with her, so my food came from the same Kitchen. Did Servers make mistakes and bring me
    the wrong food? Yes. Did I risk cross contamination? You know it. Did I sue the Server for his mistake?! NO. I didn’t have to pay for the food, so I didn’t make a big fuss about the mistake. I just ate the peas that came with the food and put the plate at the edge of the table to let the Server know that I was finished with the food. Besides, I listened to other residents bitch and complain about the food and I wanted to cut the Server some slack. He wasn’t familiar with my dietary needs and he works in more sections than just the one my client frequented. And I now work for the Retirement home where this client used to live and I interact more frequently with the Server who mucked up my order. He’s becoming an older brother figure (when I first started working there, I took a lot of my cues from this person on what I need to do when working in the Dining Room). We have an inside joke about how he’ll need to come back and help me clean up a “code brown”/hazardous spill (diarrhea) if I eat something from the steam table that contains gluten.

    Reply
    1. 1.1

      Gluten Dude

      My mom was in a nursing home. There is no way they could have made meals gluten-free.

      Reply
  2. 2

    Frank

    I agree and If he wins (which I think and hope is highly unlikely) this type of action could make restaurants who do try hard to accommodate those of us with celiac back away from us in fear of retaliation in the event of a mistake. Mistakes do happen but it’s on us just as much as the restaurant when we take the risk of eating out in a place where cross-contamination is possible.

    Reply
    1. 2.1

      Gluten Dude

      [nodding my head in agreement]

      Reply
  3. 3

    Linda R

    I agree, this is Horseshit. It gives us a bad rap and puts us in the Gwyneth Paltrow category of frivolity. I hope the restaurant countersues for defamation.

    Reply
    1. 3.1

      Gluten Dude

      Not sure if I’d want that…but wouldn’t it be interesting?

      Reply
  4. 4

    Wendy T.

    Yeah, no. He has CD, he’s destined to always have medical bills for related issues. The only thing we don’t know is whether or not he had a pre-existing OTHER condition (maybe a problem with his intestines or esophagus) that was exacerbated by the glutening. Did he literally bust a gut? It’s gonna be really hard to prove permanent damage from one meal. I’m surprised he found a lawyer.

    Reply
    1. 4.1

      Gluten Dude

      I know…there are so few lawyers around (hee hee).

      Reply
  5. 5

    Erica

    Exactly, dude. Exactly. Thank you for putting into words how I couldn’t about this story.

    Reply
    1. 5.1
  6. 6

    Lori

    when eating out, you are only as safe as the least educated person that works there…. its great if your waiter gets your issue, even the chef, but it only takes ONE person to use a bread knife to cut the chicken for your salad, or use the same cutting board, or accidentally put croutons on your salad, then remember, and remove them which still leaves your salad tainted. I don’t eat out much anymore because most of the time its not worth it – i’d rather eat ahead of time, and go enjoy the company and a nice drink (and hide snacks in my purse). Even at a restaurant I know and trust, if a new person ends up handling my food in any stage from prep to presentation… and most people don’t understand anything other then “wheat” when they hear gluten. I carry the restaurant cards with me, have the waiter go and ask the chef to read the card and tell me what the safest thing to order is… i don’t have them try to fix something that has gluten in it. sheesh…

    Reply
    1. 6.1

      Gluten Dude

      It’s why I would never eat at a fast food joint. You got kids back there who don’t really care. Believe me…I used to be one of them. Not about food issues, but the work in general.

      Reply
      1. 6.1.1

        Joan

        I like to get fries from New York fries but when kids are working there I double check. So far so good đź‘Ť

        Reply
      2. 6.1.2

        John

        Out here in the west, fast food outfit In-n-Out Burger seems to do gluten free correctly. They have a protocol they follow. You can see the preparation from the counter if you go inside.

        They also have fries that are GF, because the oil is used only for french fries.

        Reply
  7. 7

    Jane

    I totally agree. It won’t cause permanent damage, and in what universe would a doc treat him for this forever??? And it happened in 2016? Really?? It WILL cause permanent damage to our celiac world. Thanks, Jerk. Hope you lose big time!

    Reply
    1. 7.1

      Gluten Dude

      How do you really feel Jane?

      Reply
  8. 8

    Cinbad

    I think it is ridiculous! I have been a Celiac for 22 years, before it became a fad diet and expensive GF food, I was given a Bun at a chain in the twin cities they assured me was GF. It was not and yes I was pretty upset but it taught me not to trust restaurants with my disease, it’s my issue, I was very upset the restaurant avoided my phone call and emails and never tried to even apologize! 1 Bun took about 4 months to exit my system but I moved on! The people going on a fad diet who don’t have Celiac have made places hate us going into restaurants. Anyway, I hope he does not win.

    Reply
    1. 8.1

      Gluten Dude

      “The people going on a fad diet who don’t have Celiac have made places hate us going into restaurants.”

      Yep.

      Reply
      1. 8.1.1

        GFMom

        I wish we would stop blaming other people’s dietary choices. What someone else chooses to eat or not eat is no one else’s business. We of all people should be respectful of other people’s dietary restrictions. As long as they’re not instructing the chef to wear gloves and take all kinds of extreme precautions and then ordering cake, it’s people who work in food service who have the responsibility to be educated on safe food handling, and the responsibility of the customer to explain what’s needed or choose restaurants where there’s understanding. Should someone not be allowed to ask for a vegetarian meal if they’re not deathly allergic to beef? No one should have to defend their food choices. Tell your server that you have Celiac and explain what you need and stop blaming other people who are just trying to eat much like you are.

        Reply
  9. 9

    Dale

    Ok so no I don’t think law suits are the answer! But after my daughter was in a major hospital under a specialist in celiac, on a GI floor, gets wheat roll on her gluten free tray! She missed two years of school and left the hospital in a wheelchair. Something has to be done to tell the public that this is a serious disease. The hospital admitted there mistake and I had to pay the hospital bill along with two years of watching my daughter suffer. So what is the answer?

    Reply
    1. 9.1

      Gluten Dude

      Wow….that is awful…real sorry Dale. The answer is we stop putting 99% of the focus on the damn food and put it on the disease.

      Reply
  10. 10

    Betsy in Michigan

    You called, it Gluten Dude.

    Reply
  11. 11

    Hap

    Hey Dude — Looks like you & yours are enjoying NYC !!!
    I can’t ever listen to The Boss without wondering how you, Mrs Dude & the girls are doing in Life. Glad to read you’re still laboring in the gluten-filled trenches.

    35 yrs of lawyering for me in May & it’s getting crazier & crazier every month. The referenced lawsuit is bogus. The “severe and permanent personal injuries” from which “will continue to suffer, for an indefinite time, great pain, suffering, significant discomfort, and a loss of quality of life” is just required “lawyer language” to not get his lawsuit dismissed before he gets started. I doubt the lawyer expects to win & is probably angling for a quick nuisance settlement, which only adds to the bogusness of the whole mess. I agree wholeheartedly it hurts our CD cause.

    I hardly ever “eat out” anymore because almost always get CC glutened from busy kitchens even with my best chefs who really care. I enjoy feeling much better, getting stronger & my heath finally returning after this past 9 year nightmare so that the former enjoyment from “eating out” is cancelled out & just not worth the risk of getting sick.

    I’ve got such a good food & exercise routine going and staying well from absolutely no gluten that Life is getting good again.

    Hope all continues to go well for you & your Clan !
    Hold Fort & continue fighting the good fight as you deem appropriate. Please give my regards to Jen too.

    Cheers!

    Hap

    Reply
    1. 11.1

      Gluten Dude

      Hey Hap. Great to hear from you. The family is good…and so is Bruce!

      Glad to hear you are feeling good. Well-deserved.

      Reply
  12. 12

    Campenita

    That is nuts. Looking for a way to cash in on the “deep pockets”, but making a terrible mark for the rest of us who take more responsibility for ourselves. I agree with you… life threatening form a glutening?! Permanent?! This is like blaming the restaurant for him contracting Celiac. It’s hard enough for us to eat out and this kind of thing will make it worse not better.

    Reply
  13. 13

    Jacquie

    Eating out is totally on us. We are always taking a risk. I don’t usually take it anymore and you can tell within seconds if they know or have no education about your needs. I do wish restaurants would just be honest and say we cannot safely feed you if you do ask. I have been told that and I am totally cool with it ;-) I actually asked for a bowl with rice and chicken today and was told the chef won’t serve it because it’s not flavorful bahahah that’s a new one!!! I guess I won’t eat because of your high standards of flavor. ;-)

    Reply
  14. 14

    Heather

    Sounds to me like he was looking for a free meal and a huge payout; also, what if he’s GRAIN intolerant? The last time I ate rice I had the exact same reaction as if I had eaten a whole wheat sandwich! As a matter of fact it was so bad that I ended up in the chronic pain ward of the hospital where I had to undergo a CT Scan, turned out my colon was inflamed and I was not digesting the rice at all! Haven’t touched it since and have not had any abdominal pain either and that was almost 3 years ago.

    Reply
  15. 15

    Arlene

    My daughter got glutened at a restaurant that gave her a regular bun instead of the gluten free bun she requested. She has eaten there a lot with no problems, but someone messed up the order. She was in a conversation with a friend and wasn’t paying attention ND didn’t confirm that it was gluten free. She ate about half the burger and didn’t realize what had happened until she started throwing up. All night and the next day. And she was 8 months pregnant at the time. She called the restaurant and they apologized, didn’t offer to comp the meal, and that was that. But she won’t be suing them. She felt terrible for several days, and that was a LOT of gluten, but it was a mistake, and you take a chance anytime you eat out. She is fine and the baby is fine, thank goodness.

    Reply
    1. 15.1

      Gluten Dude

      Thanks goodness indeed.

      Reply
  16. 16

    Melané

    Well, that is certainly one sharp lawyer and one malignant customer. Everybody loses: celiac, restaurant and the guy is attracting some very bad karma. Sad to be like that, hey?!!

    Reply
  17. 17

    Dave W. Duhring

    Sheesh! I’d NEVER order a French Onion Soup in any dining establishment unless the place was 100% GF. FOS is 99% of the time made with a roux of wheat flour & butter. Sounds like a newby who hasn’t learnt the hard lessons yet. The only possible reason for “severe and permanent personal injuries” is if he was subsequently diagnosed as refractory via biopsy proceeding the event… but even that is a long shot.

    The article you’ve linked to @ The Phoenix New Times says the incident took place on Dec. 27 2016. Here is the archived menu from The El Tovar from Jan 10 2017 (14 days later)
    https://web.archive.org/web/20170110181150/http://www.grandcanyonlodges.com/assets/16-ET-Dinner.spring.final_.upt_.pdf There is nothing indicated as “Gluten Free” – assuming the online menu was the same as that presented to diners in the restaurant (which is often not the case) which lists the French Onion soup & the “duck entree with rice and vegetables”

    Their current menu
    https://www.grandcanyonlodges.com/content/uploads/2013/07/ET-Dinner-Spring-2019-1.pdf indicates 10 GF dishes out of 23 total with none of the GF marked dishes containing any of the usual mistakes that would make me not even consider dining there..like couscous, spelt, freekeh, semolina, malt vinegar etc in GF marked dishes.
    My only question would be whether the tortillas are fried in a shared fryer. In fact all they need is a “proper” GF beer in the Beverages list and I’d probably make the decision to “consider” dining there :-)

    From 2016 to 2019 it looks like progress to me at The El Tovar

    Reply
    1. 17.1

      Richard

      Gluten Free in a restaurant is an impossibility. They only say “gluten free” to encourage you to eat their food. Oh, and pay for it. If you suffer from celiac’s don’t eat out! Sorry. It took 7 years of DH rash to wake me up to that unfortunate truth. That, and it is expensive to cook GF at home as well. It helps to have a spouse who’s a really great cook. Left alone I would surely starve before long.

      Reply
  18. 18

    Barb

    I totally agree with you! Even eating at home has an element of risk – forgetting to check a label and the ingredients changed. Whenever I’m contaminated, I know far sooner than 2 hours!

    Reply
  19. 19

    Sybil

    Sitting here shaking my head at the vagaries and various opinions . Thought I had seen it all but this one takes the (gf) cake… it does strike me as a nuisance claim and rightfully so. How much better it would have been had this been handled differently – training of the staff (plus ongoing training), explanation of the extent to which some people with CD can and do suffer from even accidental incidents that happen at home , let alone in restaurants. We need to accept the fact that there is no 100% gf anywhere- even in our homes, 1/70000th of a speck of gluten (20ppm) should not hurt anyone. A wheat roll placed on a gf meal- YES, croutons on a salad? YES- using the same knife that sliced a fried chicken sandwich? YES! I truly believe it is up to the customer to carefully (and quietly) explain their needs, then double check when the meal comes out . I love places that use a different shaped plate, a flag on the meal, a manager who brings it out. Would all restaurants adopt this policy, I believe fewer people would get sick . Education and training is the key and the answer. By the way, I’ve been preparing Julia Child’s recipe for FOS for 50 years or more and have never used a roux of any kind to prepare it. Not needed, not necessary.

    Reply
    1. 19.1

      Gluten Dude

      “celiac disease” became entangled with “gluten-free”. And there is a lot of blame to go around for that!

      Reply
  20. 20

    Angelica

    I hope you don’t expect everyone to agree with you on everything because this time I disagree with you. I think they asked for too little. And it’s lawsuits like this that finally make a change in society. I think it’s more important than whether or not your coffee is too hot when you are served it. It also is permanent damage, without dispute. Every time you or I are glutened, it affect more than our villi. I’m surprised to hear you deny it. After all, you’re the one who wrote about the blood clots and talked about liver damage when you told us about “Chew On This” (sorry it didn’t workout, would’ve been nice). What’s the price on losing a week of your life? Because if I’m glutened, I stay in bed and housebound for a week. How do you put a price on that? Why isn’t it punished by fines when a restaurant makes that mistake? And have you looked at wholesalers for restaurant supplies? How do you verify that those things are gluten free, even if they say they are? This is classic dilution of responsibility as practiced by every corporation that wants to run a number on customers. The wholesalers give the restaurant cover to lie to you. A lawsuit just might have an effect. Even if only to remove those fake gluten free claims on menus. I would rather know that I can’t eat safely somewhere. I’d rather be told, “No, we don’t accommodate gluten free at this restaurant, sorry about that.”

    Reply
    1. 20.1

      Gluten Dude

      Hey Angelica. I never have an expectation of people agreeing with me. I’ll all for hearing all sides (even though I’m always right…yes…Kidding).

      I’m not disagreeing with anything you said, with two points. 1) My understanding is the villi do heal. If you constantly get glutened, then yeah…real damage for sure. 2) I also think the restaurants MUST know what their doing if they offer gluten free. I just don’t think a lawsuit is the answer..but I’m open to suggestions.

      Reply
      1. 20.1.1

        Angelica

        Let me just theorize, since they didn’t identify the nature of the permanent damage. If the gluten exposure finally killed off the plaintiff’s islet cells in the pancreas and they’re now Type 1 Diabetic as a result, yeah, permanent. If, like me, blood clots can be triggered by a gluten exposure, it could lead to obvious cardiovascular problems or a stroke, which might be chalked up to “age related” if the Celiac is an elder. If the person has gluten ataxia and as a result of the exposure, some permanent injury occurred. If someone has gluten related mental health issues and they hurt themselves or someone else before they realize what’s happening and mitigate the risk, that’s permanent. If the exposure destroyed the function of the thyroid so that the person now has to take thyroid meds indefinitely, that’s permanent. I’m not even including the possibility that someone might be continually exposed (as they might in a developing country), but there are plenty of permanent effects from that. We usually only see thyroid or liver damage, beyond the villi, in the US.

        If if if… Celiac disease is much more than villi damage. Reductive definitions of it are as useful as assuming that blurry vision or poor leg circulation are not related to Diabetes. You’ve made this point yourself, so I’m not arguing with you so much as reminding you. It’s one of the reasons I like your blog, you’ve shown a lot of introspection that’s helpful when a person’s body is freaking out and there’s no obvious reason why, and you’ve helped show that there are some weird effects from gluten (ataxia, clots articles).

        I’d rather this lawsuit did some good. I don’t want someone to get hurt as badly as I’ve described before action is taken. At the moment we’re not doing any good by just avoiding restaurants or dealing with the stress of praying we’ll be ok after the stress of quizzing the server and chef and anybody else we can get a hold of.

        I know that hopes are like unicorns, they rarely materialize, but I do hope that we will see a moratorium on not really gluten free menus after this. That would be a positive outcome.

        Reply
  21. 21

    they-told-me-I-was-fine

    I wince at the backlash of bullying this inspires. Both to the guy suing and everybody else with celiac. I figure in the bullies as a constant though. If we bully to try to avoid being bullied then the bully network is in full swing. I would not sue. I don’t eat out and if I do meet someone somewhere, I bring my own food and order some bottled soda water so I’m at least paying for something while I’m there and I leave a tip.

    I think eating out as a celiac puts an inappropriate pressure on servers and establishments. Food sharing and buying etc. should be a fun time. For me getting glutened takes me about 4 weeks until things feel good and I’m back on my game. That’s too high a consequence for me and the server is bound to feel my angst so I just avoid it. So I open my backpack in smug delight. I haven’t had an issue with a place telling me I couldn’t eat my own food at their establishment. There’s also options of a non-celiac friend ordering out and then taking the chow to a park etc. I have a friend with other food problems and we can’t even share hardly anything prepared!

    That’s my two cents.

    Reply
  22. 22

    Vickie

    We don’t go out much anymore because it’s not worth the risk.

    Tried Pei Wei 3 times because it’s owned by the P.F. Chang’s folks – got glutened once, they messed up my order once, and once was fine. Two different Pei Wei’s, by the way.

    One out of three isn’t good enough odds. Won’t even go back to the one who didn’t gluten me because they are the ones who messed up the order the next time we ate there.

    Eating out is always risky and the risk is on us.

    No one is forcing us to go out to eat. Going out isn’t a “right.” It’s a shared kitchen, no matter how you slice it. It’s no different from products that say made in the same facility. Most of the time, that gluten free meal is made in the same facility as other diners’ meals. That’s just the way it is.

    Reply
  23. 23

    Raymond Sheler

    Olive garden was one of the first restaurants with GF options. The salad is great and the pasta is prepared separately. It they are not perfect. I got glutened and spent a few hours in a McDonald’s bathroom. Sorry, Ronald!

    OG apologized, and comped a meal plus a discount card. But it was still a couple of years before I returned. That time I made our waiter sit down and listen. I explained my condition and made him understand I was depending on him. No screw ups this time. I had a great meal he got a nice tip.

    You have to make sure your server understands.

    Reply
  24. 24

    Mellie

    I was just at the Grand Canyon… and there was no way I would have eaten any of their cooked “gluten free” foods! I know this was three years ago when the “incident” happened, but when I was there last week, they had a little paper menu of all the gluten free choices, and a few pre-packaged foods. I ended up just getting chips that were certified gluten free and a canned seltzer. I saw how busy they were, there was no way I would have trusted them to prepare food safely even though they . This lawsuit is ridiculous, if they knew they were that sensitive they should have taken the proper precautions, which here means not just asking the right questions but also evaluating the situation and making a judgment call. They made the choice to take the risk, plain and simple. I do agree that change needs to happen, if something is said to be gluten free it SHOULD be safe, but suing the restaurant seems extreme.

    Reply
  25. 25

    they-told-me-I-was-fine

    I really appreciate being able to let off some steam. This blog is the first I’ve written about celiac related issues. It’s definitely a powder keg of feelings. I still have a couple more cents about this issue.

    Perhaps the guy’s lawyer will sniff around and come across all these comments and see that they may not have a strong case. The guy wouldn’t want me on his jury and yet I empathize with him very much, but I wish he would reconsider. There’s so much hurt having a recognized ailment that goes undiagnosed and unsuspected by the healthcare community and our culture at large. When someone is suffering they are often suspected of just being lazy or trying ‘get away’ with doing nothing with their life and they are an easy target of bullying. I’m currently healing from both celiac and bullying from everything from p.e. class to trying to do an exclusion diet in college and a housemate trying to prevent me from doing so and laying into over my appearance and diet and encouraging teasing at my expense (my first adult nervous breakdown).

    I believe the real fault lies with our dysfunctional health care community with regards to diet issues (I’ll leave my other reservations out for hope of a clearer message). They can practically sew on a new eye ball anymore and yet they can’t seem to tackle celiac. With the billions and billions of dollars of profit made and also spent on advertising of pharmaceuticals it seems to me that it would be a fairly simple affair for the health care industry to make public service announcements concerning celiac. The ball of public awareness of celiac is clearly in the court of the health care community from my point of view. Although I would want them to put out public awareness ads, I think it would be best for them to connect with the celiac community first. My point is that they are not an organization that reaches out. I certainly do not feel that I was reached since I was in and out of doctors offices since I was a small child and into my adult life before it was finally discovered when I was 45. An elderly person I know was diagnosed a couple years ago in her 70’s.

    The claim of their service in their title. Health Care Provider. In my view they are sorely lacking in this claim. And just one more note. People healing from celiac aren’t recovering health. They’re establishing health and not just gut health but social health and overall health. Hopefully the celiac community can lead the way.

    Reply

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