One of our summer interns, Adil, did some extremely important research! We all want to know: are french fries gluten free? Here’s a re-cap of the things he found.

are french fries gluten free? photo of french fries

This past week Nima went on a french fry quest, visiting five restaurants around San Francisco. We chose these restaurants for a variety of reasons; either to make sure that the claim of 100% gluten free was valid or to inspect such restaurants that customers online (on Yelp, Google Reviews, and gluten-free blogs) had said made them sick.

After informing the staff at each restaurant that I have a gluten allergy and asking them whether their french fries would upset me, I recorded their responses and ordered fries (making sure to store them without any cross-contamination on my part!). While having a french fry scandal would have been exciting, the results are back in from the lab and they are rather comforting: all five samples contained gluten levels of under 5ppm.

French fries packaged for testing

are french fries gluten free?french fries in test tubes for gluten testing

GF french fry test results

Are restaurants that advertise themselves as totally gluten-free or having gluten-free options truly safe for those of us with gluten allergies? With french fries, the main concern is that the fryer is not dedicated to non wheat-containing foods. Cross contamination occurs when gluten comes into contact with otherwise gluten-free food during any part of the preparation process: when food is placed on a counter top before serving or at your table, sharing utensils or cookware, or if those in the kitchen don’t properly wash their hands. This can be a huge source of fear for those with gluten allergies that want to eat out.

The goal with Nima is to help address some of those fears.