ZEFFIRELLI - Gluten Free Menu (with a DISCLAIMER?!)
Gluten Free offerings at ZEFFIRELLI - Canberra's No.1 Italian Restaurant
I have recently been researching some businesses in various parts of Australia that offer gluten free. One notable place is ZEFFIRELLI (aka Canberra's No.1 Italian Restaurant). Situated in three suburbs; Belconnen, Dickson and Manuka; this establishment offers various meal options, including pizza, pasta, steak and more! It is quite a trendy social venue for a variety of local Canberrans and visitors alike. A great place to dine!
Furthermore, they offer a gluten free menu, which is great for those who require a gluten free diet. Many establishments such as this are becoming more coeliac aware and accommodating to various individuals' needs. Curiously, I browsed this gluten free menu to see which sorts of meals were on offer. I perused various menu items to see what was on offer, observing any fine print, and unfortunately found a disclaimer beneath the final item on the final page.
FALSE 'Gluten Free' Menu at ZEFFIRELLI
"Our Executive Chef has undertaken considerable research in endeavoring to provide gluten free options for our customers. In some instances however we are reliant on the products and ingredients purchased from external suppliers and whilst we try to ensure that these are gluten free, Zeffirelli pizza restaurant does not accept any responsibility whatsoever if such products contain traces of gluten."
I, myself, was quite GOBSMACKED after observing this statement, to be honest. Is there any point in offering a gluten free menu if gluten intolerant customers don't even know whether an item may or may not contain gluten? Who does Zeffirelli think they are to EXPLOIT a niche market without even taking the appropriate precautions to ensure the accuracy of the information. This is a very weak gluten free dining venue indeed. One who promotes gluten free fare in Australia as such MUST be able to ensure that items labelled as gluten free are, in fact gluten free!
Excerpt from FSANZ (page 15) http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/_srcfiles/ACF2A90.pdf
Gluten Free Labelling Laws
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.
Have they not a clue of the implications of coeliac disease in one's lifestyle? Individuals who require a gluten free diet, particularly coeliacs (who form a vast majority of the gluten free market), must avoid ALL gluten. The cannot even consume "trace amounts" of gluten and be guaranteed to not have a reaction (SILENT OR NOT!) let alone products that may actually "contain" gluten due to certain information from their suppliers (or LACK OF IT!!).
I am very disappointed that this is the case at ZEFFIRELLI and I encourage any Canberran or visitor to the region with Coeliac Disease or any other medically diagnosed intolerance or allergy to be sure and play it safe. I would NOT recommend this venue to anyone with such food issues. It's pretty obvious that if they aren't confident that their so called 'gluten free' meals aren't completely gluten free, then why should we be confident in dining with them?
Leave your views in the comments and let me know, Zeffirelli, of your position with regard to this illegal form of false 'gluten free' advertising on your menu. We'll see what comes of it.