Nima Sensor, Sunflower Cafe to Close, New Day GF Hopes to Re-open

This week I tell you all about the new Nima Sensor and how it works.  Three weeks in a row I am having to tell you about gluten-free places closing; The Sunflower Cafe/Bakery in Williampsport, PA will close on October 30, 2016. Lastly, I will share some news about New Day GF hoping to open in a new location!

The Sunflower Cafe/Bakery in Williamsport, PA will close it’s doors. I was informed by one of my facebook followers last week and I immediately went to Sunflower Cafe’s facebook page. I  went to her page and read back about one year; I started crying.  She was very open about her struggles; talking about selling furniture to pay her business loan and trying to do it all by herself because she could not afford to pay help. Wow; she had 5 star ratings.  Let’s look at this situation by looking at the numbers:

Population of Williamsport, PA: 29,349 x 1.3% = 381 Celiacs

-This means every Celiac and their friends/family would need to eat there at least once a week. I know from experience that this did not happen.  Looking at this population statistic, I know it could not work because there are no large cities nearby. I am thankful to Sunflower Cafe & Bakery for being a safe haven for those with Celiac Disease.

Everyone is talking about the new Nima Sensor: Dining out in restaurants full of gluten is a calculated risk that many take way too often and pay the price later. Now you can test your food before you eat it! This is great news if you have Celiac Disease or a Wheat Allergy. Nima Sensor is a portable sensor that tests liquid and solid foods for the presence of gluten (wheat, rye and barley) in about two minutes. Nima hopes to be able to test for top 8 allergens in the future! My thoughts are:

  1. If you eat out a lot, you can make sure your food is safe before you eat it.
  2. If people detect gluten in their meals it will drive them back to the completely GF places who are doing it right!
  3. Cost for the device is $279.00
  4. Refill test capsules cost $60.00 for 12 capsules or $5.00 per test.
  5. Pretty pricey; add $5.00 to the price of your meal.
  6. Your meal is probably cheaper at the dedicated GF place; you don’t need to test it.
  7. If you must eat at a regular restaurant; a  $5 test is cheaper than taking days off work.
  8. If it detects gluten, the restaurant probably won’t refund your meal; especially if they have a disclaimer on their menu!
  9. Level of detection is to 20 ppm (parts per million).
  10. I won’t be getting one right now because I am always at One Dish Cuisine!

Click Here to learn more

Go Fund Me Page for New Day GF:  As I told you two weeks ago; this 5 star rated Gluten Free and Peanut Free cafe  was in a small town, too far out from St Louis, MO and had several competitors that had opened up in St Louis.  Last Friday they posted that they identified a new location just outside of St Louis and were awaiting “capital” or financing. It looks like they were not able to obtain financing. A “Go Fund Me” page was posted to their facebook page. They need to raise $300,000 in order to re-open. I hope that they can raise the funds, re-0pen and prosper in the new location.

 

 

“Grilled Cheese; Hold The Peanut Butter?”

Most of you have already heard about the recent disaster with Panera serving a grilled cheese and adding peanut butter to it; despite the customer disclosing a peanut allergy. This is very unfortunate and it defies rationale. I have thought and thought about this situation and I was at a loss for words.

Paul Antico to the rescue! Paul is the founder of Allergy Eats and is father to several children with multiple food allergies and works tirelessly on behalf of the food allergy community.  Without a doubt, I have to say that I agree with Paul’s take on this and could not have said it better myself. This is a must read if you have food allergies or celiac disease.

The bottom line is this; what what happened and what can we learn from it? Paul lets you know in his blog post titled: “Panera Food Allergy Disaster: Lawsuit and What Went Wrong”

We can learn a whole lot!  On that note…take it away Paul….  Click here to read!

To check out Allergy Eats guide to finding allergy friendly restaurants Click Here

Share your thoughts with us!

Panera Grilled Cheese

Things That Make You Go Hmmmm!

thingthatmakeyougohmmm

Funny Story #1: We all have those times when we hear something and can’t believe we heard it.  Then, we have no choice but to assume that the person is kidding.  Then, if that is not the case, you just play along and are left shaking your head. Our line-cook, Kendall, had just that type of experience last week. I hope this one makes you laugh too!

Kendall was working the front counter when a customer and a friend came in to eat.  The customer is gluten sensitive, and the friend had never been here before. He had no food restrictions whatsoever.  So, Kendall explained the menu to the friend (who was in his late 20’s or early 30’s), we will just call him “Tom”.  Tom decided on our Cheese Steak Sub. Kendall went over condiment choices with him and he rattled off everything he wanted on his cheese steak:

Tom: “Mayo, Lettuce, Tomato, Sauteed Onions…and can I get gluten on it too?”

Kendall: “No, I am sorry; as I explained before, the facility is free of gluten.”

Tom: “Yeah, I know; but I CAN have Gluten, can’t you just add it to mine?”

Kendall: “No, I can’t. I am sorry.”

Kendall shared a glance with the regular customer and a smile.  Kendall later told me that she could not believe it, she thought he was kidding. However, the look on Tom’s friend’s face definitely said that he was not kidding.

So, this is definitely the first time we have had a customer who thought Gluten was a condiment that you can add to a sandwich!  We all laughed until our faces hurt.  But, this is a great reminder of how little the general public knows about Gluten.

Serious Story #2:  Labeling Disaster at our Local Giant Food

A member recently posted on the Chesapeake Celiac Support Facebook page about Bourbon BBQ Sauce made by Giant…it makes a gluten free claim on the front of the label, but clearly has wheat as an ingredient in the soy sauce in it. The other issue is the Bourbon!  This is not allowed under the FDA Labeling. The law is that no ingredient that actually contains wheat, rye or barley can be used in a product bearing a GF Label, even if it contains less than 20ppm!  Hence, Gluten removed beers can no longer claim them to be GF because they can’t validate with testing that the Barley has been removed! (Schar products use a product called “codex wheat starch” that is processed to remove the wheat, so it is allowed, but they still have to say “contains codex wheat starch processed to remove wheat”.) So, you may be asking “how can this happen?”

There is no federal oversight; people can just do what they want until they get caught!  Pure ignorance on Giant’s part.  Here is the response Giant Food gave to the person who bought the product and inquired:

Irene, thanks for raising the question about this product. Our Own Brand’s Quality Team provided this explanation. Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale. Thus, all products with wheat, contain some gluten. The Banjo BBQ Sauce contains soy sauce, which has wheat as a sub-ingredient. The wheat that is in the soy sauce, does contain gluten, but only a very, very small amount.

FDA mandates gluten-free labeling. In order for a product to be labeled “gluten-free”, it must have <20 ppm of gluten. This product has been tested for gluten, and not only does it meet the <20ppm threshold, but it actually contains <5ppm of gluten. Thus, we can guarantee that the product meets the standard to label the product “gluten-free”, even though it does contain very trace amounts of gluten.

We understand that this could be confusing to customers, and thus, in order to be 100% transparent, the supplier is working to reformulate the product to remove soy sauce. Post-reformulation, there will be no wheat listed in the ingredient statement and should reduce customer confusion. I hope this explanation helps. Should you have other questions about any of our Own Brand products please feel free to call the toll free number and our representatives will be glad to help.”

Oh, please!  That was a big lie.  So, if this is really true, why would they be reformulating it to remove the soy sauce?  Oh, and isn’t Bourbon made with Rye? Bourbon is 51% corn and the remainder is usually malted barley comprised of rye or wheat. There is no safe way to remove the rye, or at least verify that the rye has been removed.  So, the problem is the wheat in the soy sauce and possibly rye or wheat in the bourbon.  Those are my red flags.

Basically, Giant Food is telling their customers with Wheat Allergies and Celiac Disease that they don’t care enough about you to do it right.  They are also saying that when you catch us lying to you, we are still going to lie to you when trying to explain ourselves. They brazenly assumed that we all are stupid.

You still need to be vigilant out there and you need to understand the labeling laws yourself because there is no FDA oversight because the GF Labeling Law is VOLUNTARY not mandatory!

I won’t be supporting my local Giant Food any longer.  We had this issue a few years ago with a bourbon chicken that they were selling and claiming that all of their Deli Meats were gluten free.  They did not care then and they don’t care now.  This incident has been reported to Gluten Free Watchdog.

Great job Irene. Stay Vigilant Folks!

Tips for Cooking Gluten and Allergy-Free

Cooking Tips for Mistakes:
Don’t be too hard on yourself when you make a mistake; keep your sense of humor!  When cooking, you can usually taste the end product and figure out what to add to it in order to fix it. When baking; if the bread doesn’t come out right; let it cool, then cut into cubes and make croutons with oil and seasoning, then freeze them.  Or you can let it cool and then put in food processor or blender and make bread crumbs and freeze them.

For sweet mistakes, the slightest mistake can make an ugly disaster but still taste really great. Just stay calm and re-purpose the mistake where it is a condiment and not the star of the show; then you can come out on top!  Like cakes; crumble the item and use crumbs as a topping for a parfait (“everybody loves a parfait” said the Donkey in Shrek) or crumble for a pie crust.

So when I make a mistake or someone in the bakery makes a mistake, I have fun running around the kitchen trying to figure out what I can make out of the mistake. Watch this 1 minute clip and this will help you keep your sense of humor the next  time you think you have a disaster. The clip below is what runs through my mind when I make a mistake; don’t panic, be a Donkey!