No time like May – Celiac Disease Awareness Month –for issues like this to come to the forefront of discussions. The NFCA has released a statement that they are suspending the use of “Amber” designation after the recent debacle involving Domino’s “gluten-free” pizza. Read the statement below:
The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) launched its Tiered Credentialing system in April 2012 in response to a growing concern in the restaurant industry around cross-contamination. While the NFCA recognizes the importance of alerting consumers to cross-contamination risks, the community response has prompted NFCA to reconsider the Amber Designation and related product labeling as an effective method to communicate these risks.
Given the public response and recent developments in this field, NFCA is suspending the use of “Amber” designation to describe a restaurant or foodservices establishment. We will conduct a review to determine the most effective and clearest way to warn the community of the risk of cross-contamination and the use of the phrase “Gluten Free.”
While we regret that confusion may have occurred in relation to the Amber Designation, we do welcome and appreciate the attention this important issue of gluten sensitivity and celiac disease has received through this dialogue. We note that the education of the public, healthcare providers, the restaurant and foodservice industry, and those who are affected by gluten-related disorders has been enhanced by this recent media coverage concerning these designation and labeling issues, as have the interests of those maintaining a medically necessary gluten-free diet.
There has been so much information from so many different sources regarding this topic that is hard to keep all of the information straight. It shouldn’t be this complicated, but unfortunately it is. I found this article from Kelly Courson at Celiac Chicks to be extremely helpful in putting all of the information together in one place.
When a person is diagnosed with Celiac Disease, the last thing they should have to encounter is added confusion to an already stressful situation. Chances are that person is already struggling with their health and not feeling well; choosing foods that are safe to eat shouldn’t complicate the situation. I always recommend starting simple as a good way to ease into the diet. Choosing whole, unprocessed foods is the easiest way to do this. Sure, replacement foods are nice and a wonderful addition to the gluten-free diet, but they can complicate things in the beginning. Add to this the complication of dining out gluten-free, and it can make for a difficult transition. Remember the best way to ensure that your meal is gluten-free is to speak with the manager-on-duty and have a discussion about the procedures for gluten-free food preparation.