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Grill'd Gluten Free Burgers and Buns - NOT Gluten Free!

Updated on August 22, 2011

Grill'd

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About Grill'd

Grill'd is a fairly modern burger franchise that offers a range of burgers and buns. They are situated at various locations throughout Australia including Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. There is plenty of variety to choose from and the staff always pride themselves in preparing the best burgers in town! They also offer Gluten Free Buns in all their stores. It's great to see more businesses offering gluten free fare. I only wish we had one here in Canberra, for that matter. I'd be sure to join in with the crowd!

[ED: Grill'd is set to have two stores open in Canberra at Westfield Belconnen (April 2011) and Westfield Woden (June 2011)!]

Not only do they carry gluten free buns, their fries are also gluten free (i.e. fried in their own oil). They also offer a good variety of burger salads and filling options that, when combined with a gluten free bun or made without one, are suitable for coeliacs as well!

OR ARE THEY?

'Gluten Information' from Grill'd Burgers

After having looked more closely at the nutrition page on the Grill'd website, I discovered that, as with many establishments offering 'so-called' gluten free fare, there were some concerns regarding whether these products would actually be completely gluten free. They claim that the buns ARE gluten free, yet they claim the burgers/fillings to only be 'gluten friendly'. They then advise customers of the following: "Please note we toast our Gluten Free* buns in the same toaster as other breads, so they'll contain traces of gluten".

In the FAQ Section, they answer further questions regarding how safe these products actually are on the gluten free diet.

Excerpt from Nutrition Page:

-

Is the Gluten Free* bun suitable for coeliacs?

"Our Gluten Free* buns are NOT suitable for coeliacs (those people who cannot process gluten) due to cross contamination risk. They are wheat free and ARE therefore suitable for those people with a wheat intolerance/following a wheat free diet. *may contain traces of gluten as these buns are put through the same toaster as our Panini and Traditional buns."

Gluten Free Labelling Laws

Excerpt from FSANZ (page 15)  http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/_srcfiles/ACF2A90.pdf

Claims in relation to gluten content of food

(1) Claims in relation to the gluten content of food are prohibited unless expressly permitted by this code.

(2) A claim to the effect that a food is gluten free must not be made in relation to a food unless the food contains –
-- (a) no detectable gluten; and
-- (b) no –
-- -- (i) oats or their products; or
-- -- (ii) cereals containing gluten that have been malted/their products.

(3) A claim to the effect that a food has a low gluten content must not be made in relation to a food unless the food contains no more than 20 mg gluten per 100 g of the food.

-- (a) more than 20 mg gluten per 100 g of the food; and
-- (b) oats or malt

(4) A claim to the effect that a food contains gluten or is high in gluten may be made in relation to a food.

FALSE Advertising

Clearly, as can be seen from above, it is evident that Grill'd is not adhering to any part of Standard 1.2.8 with regard to gluten free labelling. There are many instances with regard to this.

Firstly, Grill'd is claiming their meats, patties and salads to be 'gluten friendly' and NOT gluten free or low in gluten. Use of the 'gluten friendly' term, as you may not yet realise, is ILLEGAL in Australia. It is against the law to label any food item as 'gluten friendly'.

Secondly, Grill'd is claiming their buns to be gluten free. These buns are pre-made and are gluten free upon arrival. That soon changes once they are passed through the SAME TOASTER as everything else, including their wheaten buns (not to mention that absolutely NO precautions are taken such as lining the toaster with any protective material. At least they COULD possibly use some Toastabags or Magic Cooking Products, rather than fully neglect their coeliac market (as they are doing). Then they'd have their procedures pretty well in order with regard to this matter.

Finally, claiming that the buns are gluten free (and that the rest of their items are the retarded status of 'gluten friendly'), and then stating that they are NOT SUITABLE FOR COELIACS due to cross-contamination is WRONG!

Leave your views below and bring some of your experiences to the show. I think it absolutely STINKS that Grill'd is tainting the whole gluten free picture to represent the gluten free market as something IT IS NOT! It comes across as if they are simply treating us like a we're a chunk out of the market to satisfy, with absolutely NO concern for our health or wellbeing!

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    • profile image

      Anonymous 

      9 months ago

      From a Grilld employee you can specifically ask to have you gluten free buns (NOT THE LOW CARB BUN) cooked on the grill, which is completely gluten free, in no case will gluten come in to contact with the grill.

      In this case a coeliac order will be handled in the same way as any order where an allergen has been specified. Gloves will be changed, to be put on the grill, then when the burger is being prepared with sauces and salads, they will be prepared with fresh gloves and on top of a piece of paper so it will not come into contact with the bench that our other buns are prepared on.

      But if you come into any store, we will never tell you we are a gluten free restaurant as it goes against our rules, but we can tell you we are gluten friendly.

      If you still want to eat Grilld, but don’t believe my spiel, you can order a burger with no bun and ANY pattie or topping and it will be 100% gluten free!

      All of our chippies are also gluten free as well as our dipping sauces.

    • profile image

      Emma 

      3 years ago

      Thank you for providing this info. I agree that these places should be held to account. Those ppl above who have stated coeliacs should never eat away from home should be shot. It is not hard to take a little extra care especially if you are claiming you cater for a disease such as coeliac disease. I dont expect every restaurant or cafe to cater for me. But i sure as hell do hold those to account that identify a gluten free offering. And legally even with a disclaimer i have rights to sue if i am affected by cross contamination as under law they have identified their food as safe for me to eat! Also Sarah whoever you are, you are propogating a significant myth. A coeliacs ONLY treatment is a 100% gluten free diet. Continual injestion of gluten, even in cross contamination causes damage.

    • profile image

      Coeliac1998 

      4 years ago

      Ok sorry but I work at Grill'd AND I am a Coeliac!! I can tell you that I eat the gluten free buns at Grill'd EVERY SINGLE TIME I am at work and never have an allergic reaction! (I am very sensitive to gluten) Anyway, we explicitly tell everyone who is ordering a gluten free bun that they may contain traces of gluten as they are toasted in the same toaster (the toasters which are designed with slatted trays as to NOT accumulate crumbs!). At least Grill'd is making an effort to actually cater for those who can't eat gluten or prefer not to!! Go and find a bigger fish to fry for goodness sake!!

    • profile image

      YoungJeezy 

      5 years ago

      I worked at Grill'd for a while and yes, it's absolutely true... and completely indefensible. The "gluten-free" burger buns went through the same toaster, at least where I was working (Cairns), and would often fall into the tray and get liberally dusted with the flour off the Panini and Traditional buns. Yes, we were told to watch out for this, but I doubt if 10% of the people working there were astute enough to catch every bun that went through the toaster BEFORE it made contact with all that gluten-rich flour.

      And yes, I agree that it's slack; there were a lot of things about Grill'd that I didn't approve of. (Its "hip" marketing approach just came across as stupid, for example. Anyone who tried to impress me with that lame a sense of humour in real life would be liable to get punched so hard that their head split open like an egg!)

    • profile image

      James 

      5 years ago

      I work at grill'd as well, However, we do use the same toaster in my store as we serve roughly 600-700 people daily and maybe 20-30 burgers out of the 600+ are GF. We do offer to coeliacs that we can toast their bun on the grills ( no contact with gluten there) and then we use clean gloves and separate clean utensils, generally this turns out to be an appropriate solution.

      Additonaly, we also ask "Do you have an Allergy?" and extra care is taken with preparations but keep in mind we don't have the time to meticulously clean every aspect of the store before each GF burger is made and therefore cross contamination is an issue.

      Seriously, if you ever worked in a burger kitchen of any sort you would realise that we do try and cater for everyone except we're not perfect as hard as we try. Opt for a non-toasted bun if it really bothers you or eat at home and don't come and annoy a successful brand that is trying to HELP you.

    • profile image

      Sarah 

      5 years ago

      I completely agree with the above comments. If a restaurant says gluten free, it means the ingredients that go into the meal are gluten free. Cross contamination is a given when you eat away from home so stop writing scathing articles about how companies that have to serve thousands of people a day don't take it as seriously as you. I honestly think if you eliminate anything that ever touched a chopping board that had a grain of flour on it, if you then accidentally have gluten you will be worse off than if you allowed cross contamination.

    • infonolan profile imageAUTHOR

      infonolan 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Thank you Jessica for your concerns. Each and every company is equal in my opinion and I am investigating the statement that you have just left on my page. It appears as though this has only been added very recently, since they upgraded their website.

      I am, indeed, a law student. Great care is taken to ensure information contained within these posts is complete, accurate and up-to-date and, once again, I thank you for bringing this matter to my attention. I will review the content in this particular post. If you have any additional concerns, feel free to contact me via email at http://infonolan.hubpages.com/contact

    • profile image

      Jessica 

      7 years ago

      You obviously aren't a law student are you. Do you think these companies like Grill'd/Dominos etc are stupid enough to do anythng illegal? By the way, I read your muffin break report as well and my first thoughts were "what company could be so stupid not to write a disclaimer?" and then i realised you just really bad at researching;

      "At Muffin Break the allergen content of our products has been analysed based on their

      ingredients. However it is important for customers to be aware that our products are also

      made in an environment where cross contamination with other allergens, such as nuts,

      seeds, gluten containing cereals, soy, milk, eggs, sulphites, fish and seafood may occur."

      I found that in less than 2 minutes on their website. I don't know where you were looking....

      Stop trying to destroy the companies that are trying to help coeliacs. We all do our best, but sometimes we need to protect ourselves from the people who claim we aren't doing our job.

    • infonolan profile imageAUTHOR

      infonolan 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Hi Jessica and thank you for expressing your concerns regarding this post.

      What you have stated above seems to contradict the statement on the Grill'd website and menu. I went to my local Grill'd a few months ago and the only thing on the menu that I felt safe eating was the chips.

      All the buns went through the same toaster (including gluten free buns) and they make it clear that their gluten free burgers are 'not suitable for coeliacs' (which is an illegal claim to make in Australia for starters, as (unlike many other countries) you legally cannot label ANY food item sold in this country in relation to a disease or condition unless permitted by a specific code. There is NO code for coeliacs). The use of the 'Gluten Friendly' term is also in breach of Standard 1.2.8 in the FSANZ regulations, which states that use of the term 'gluten' is illegal unless used in a specific context (i.e. 'gluten free', 'low gluten' and 'contains gluten'/'high in gluten'/'source of gluten'/etc.). There are also specific rules and regulations governing the use of these terms. This applies to restaurants and the food service industry in the same way as it does to packaged foods sold at your grocery store.

      Please let me know if you would like me to clarify this matter further.

    • profile image

      Jessica 

      7 years ago

      I work at Grill'd and for starters, I don't know about the other stores do, but we CERTAINLY DO NOT put the GF buns in the same toaster as the others. That is stupid. Secondly, we use separate utensils to prep the buns (ie. chopping boards/knives) then, when a customer orders we say "I'm sorry the sauce on that burger is not gluten free would you like to change it or is that okay?" THEN, we pop the GF bun in a separate toaster, then lay it out on a burger wrap so it's not even touching the board, use SEPARATE utensils to spread the sauces and finally we ALWAYS change gloves. and if that wasn't enough, if you order a non GF burger and chips, we will always put the chips on the plate with the GF burger.

      I don't mean to be rude, but what the hell are you expecting in a store that sells all options. As you can see from above, we try our hardest to accommodate for everyone, but yes we can't 100% guarantee it will be free from contamination. The disclaimer is to cover our arse so people dont accuse us of not doing our job properly (which as i described, we do). It's called duty of care. and to be honest, if a customer came in and said "this could make me really sick" I'd probably suggest them to buy a salad if they were that concerned.

      go be annoying somewhere else.

    • infonolan profile imageAUTHOR

      infonolan 

      7 years ago from Australia

      It is true that so much is going on and yes, it is appalling. The coeliac society of Australia isn't helping matters either and if we as Australian coeliac consumers do not speak up about some of the things that are going on (with regard to the CSoA planning to change Australia's labelling laws to allow foods with small 'trace' amounts of gluten to be labelled 'gluten free' ( https://hubpages.com/food/Against-The-Coeliac-Soci... )), the food standards may become weaker. Here is a more detailed post on the 'gluten friendly' term being illegal in Australia and I will be adding some more businesses to this page very shortly: https://hubpages.com/food/Gluten-Friendly-an-ILLEG...

      Connie, I am not trying to stop businesses from offering gluten free options. Many foods served are already naturally free of gluten. On a number of occasions this is so much so that a gluten free menu is essentially unnecessary. Many good restaurants and food outlets know what gluten is.

      But at the end of the day, that is not what ANY of these posts are about. It is about false 'gluten free' advertising. It is illegal to advertise a food item (whether it be served in a restaurant or in the supermarket) as gluten free.

      With these (foodservice) *marketing ploys* in place, it will most likely cause many in other countries to *assume* that Australia does not have strict food labelling laws in place. This is not the case. Therefore, I will continue to take companies, that clearly do not comply with the stipulated legislation as such, to task over the matter.

    • profile image

      Connie 

      7 years ago

      GET OVER IT. EAT AT HOME!!! Stop ruining it for those of us who can make the choice. Honestly, BUY yourselves some crockery and cutlery and STOP posting rude comments on companies that try to assist those of us with cd. The law does not apply to restaurants like it does to packaged foods...

    • moonbun profile image

      Luna Fae 

      7 years ago from UK

      So much of this is going on, it's disgusting. Well done you for highlighting all these brands, something really needs to be done to stop these gluten free lies.

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