Are French Fries Gluten Free?
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.
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 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.