Catering research – providing information for caterers to produce safe gluten free meals

We know that eating out is a top priority for people with coeliac disease. We know that if you could, you would eat out more and that you are willing to travel some distance to be sure to find a gluten free meal. When the law on gluten free was published in 2009, caterers had three years to comply with the law. We wanted to be able to advise caterers on how to cater for people on a gluten free diet and to provide tools to help them cater for you. We commissioned two projects in 2010 and 2012 to provide us with information to inform the catering sector.

Developing a gluten free risk assessment ‘toolkit’ for the catering sector

Principal Investigator: Coeliac UK

Institution: Coeliac UK, RSSL

Project completion: 2011

Grant awarded: £27K

We commissioned a research project to investigate the levels of gluten found in meals served for people with coeliac disease. The project also looked at the controls that were in place, the processes used to produce gluten free meals and information on the training provided.

The project involved a variety of catering establishments including a school, hospital, workplace canteen, independent restaurants and large restaurant chains.

The results from this project were very encouraging, with 95% of samples testing as gluten free in line with the law. This project enabled us to produce our online training module, face to face training course, flipbook and poster.

Evaluation of risks and necessary controls for gluten free production in a commercial kitchen environment that simultaneously uses wheat flour

Principal Investigator: Coeliac UK

Institution: Coeliac UK, NSF-CMi Ltd

Project completion: 2013

Grant awarded: £18K

This project was designed to establish more precise recommendations on the conditions necessary to provide gluten free food whilst gluten containing flour was in use within the same commercial kitchen.

This work developed an understanding of the impact of the method of cooking, segregation, spatial arrangement within the kitchen and will be used to make specific recommendations for caterers preparing gluten free meals in kitchens where gluten containing flour is also handled.

Associated publications:

Miller K, McGough N, Urwin H. 2016 Catering Gluten-Free When Simultaneously Using Wheat Flour. Journal of Food Protection, Vol. 79, No. 2, 2016, Pages 282–287