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Ninety Nine (99) Restaurants - FALSE Gluten Free Menu (with a DISCLAIMER!)
ILLEGAL ADVERTISING COMES FROM 99 Restaurants!
So, it appears as though NINETY NINE (99) RESTAURANTS now offers a GLUTEN FREE MENU. Located in various states along the Eastern side of the United States of America; including Connecticut, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Maine, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York and Vermont; this place (at first sight) appears to offer quite some decent gluten free options for diners with Celiac (coeliac) Disease. That is, until the disclaimer beneath all other text on the menu 'greets you' as you get ready to order!
Excerpt from the Gluten Free Menu:
"Please inform your server of any dietary concerns. Your best source for health information and guidance is your physician. Please don’t take this menu as medical advice. It is an informational resource only, and we are not responsible for how you use this information. Consult your physician if you have questions about whether certain foods may cause allergic reactions. We take great care to ensure the foods offered on this menu are free of gluten and gluten derivatives, but we are not responsible for individual reactions to any foods and cannot guarantee that the foods we serve are allergen-free."
At first sight, I was absolutely speechless. I could neither say nor think a word. To be honest, I was absolutely petrified about ever entering this venue should I ever travel to that area of the US and most certainly will be avoiding this destination at all reasonable costs.
It is MISLEADING to advertise a food item as 'gluten free' if it may come into contact with gluten. Under the FDA, a product cannot be labelled as 'GLUTEN FREE' unless the following conditions are MET!
Excerpt from FDA Food Labelling Regulations:
FDA proposes to define the term "gluten-free" to mean that a food bearing this claim in its labeling does not contain any one of the following:
- An ingredient that is a prohibited grain
- An ingredient that is derived from a prohibited grain and that has not been processed to remove gluten
- An ingredient that is derived from a prohibited grain and that has been processed to remove gluten, if the use of that ingredient results in the presence of 20 parts per million (ppm) or more gluten in the food or
- 20 ppm or more gluten
Based on the food law, a product cannot legally be advertised or promoted on a menu or fact sheet as gluten free UNLESS IT IS! How hard is it for businesses to understand this.
Leave your comments below and bring your opinions across. To be honest, this destination is a no-goer for ANY celiac out there and I feel that it absolutely STINKS that this food organisation is exploiting celiacs like simply a NICHE Target Group!