Can you spot the fallacy?

Posted: 2015-09-04

“Vegan, G.F. Spiced black beans with New Mexico Chilies and Barley.”

Anything strike you as incorrect with the sign?

Don’t feel bad if you don’t spot it… you are absolutely not alone.

Barley is the last ingredient. Barley, though not wheat, is not actually gluten free.

There are well intentioned folks attempting to serve, and label, options to provide for customers with food challenges and particular needs. Anyone with a food challenge is grateful for that intention… it just gets a little, or sometimes a lot, scary if labels and information isn’t accurate.

In this case that it is gluten free when in fact it is not. It is wheat free…. but not gluten free. I know… it is a bit confusing.

For many this is something people look at and roll their eyes in the “absurdity of it all”. For many that is just not an option. This information being accurate decides if they feel sick or pain the rest of the day, if they can go back to work that afternoon, if they end up in bed for a period of days or longer. If they have an actual allergy could have an anaphylaxis response… which could be scary for all involved, could lead to an emergency room visit or, if things went horribly wrong, death.

To these situations there are usually some common objections that pop up.

“The person ordering should read the sign. They should know what they need and not be caught in this mistake.”

What if the person simply doesn’t see the sign, or maybe is blind or visually impaired or just illiterate?

Maybe they ask if it is gluten free and are told yes. Perhaps ingredients are asked for but not all are given.

Maybe a co-worker or friend is being kind and picking up lunch. They see gluten free and feel like this is a safe choice they can make for their dining companion.

All we really need is for the information presented to be complete, well informed and accurate.

I know some look at the extremes of these situations and suggest… “If it is that bad for the person they just shouldn’t eat out”.

There are some people that do just that. They don’t eat anything they haven’t prepared themselves. The reality is that people want to share food and fun with their friends, co workers, etc. And with accurate information, in most cases, safe eating can be accomplished.

These types of mistakes are EXACTLY what I want to empower the restaurants, or for anyone that serves food, to avoid. I enjoy being a part of the support and solution helping diners to stay safe and for food workers to discover what they didn’t know they didn’t know.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can help you, your staff, your family, etc.