Monday, June 27, 2011

Can Fast Food Be Safe for Celiacs? UPDATED..UPDATED YET AGAIN

I'm not a fast food person.

PCD I used to love to indulge in McDonald's chicken nuggets and fries with LOTS of Sweet n Sour sauce. It was one of my favorite meals a few times a year. Obviously when I was diagnosed with celiac I had to give up my Mickey D binges on Chicken Nuggets and Fries and I had assumed that all fast food was now completely off limits. Even if it wasn't could I really trust some mouth-breather to get my order right? It was WAY too risky.

That was some years ago. Since my diagnosis everyone seems to be hip to the celiac game and I now longer get what I call the confused puppy dog look when I say I have celiac. (Side note - try explaining celiac disease or gluten allergy to the Italian waiter I had 7 years ago. I actually had to write a note for him to take to the chef equivalent of Can I eat this? Circle yes or no.) This got me thinking that since so much has changed is fast food safe for us?

After some research I found that the majority of fast food restaurants to offer allergen menus or recommendations for those with gluten sensitivities.


Good news everyone! Jamocha Shakes are GF! (click on Menus and Gluten Free will show up as a PDF option)

Baja Fresh

They do not have an allergen menu on their website I emailed customer service and received the following info:

The following menu items contain gluten:
Flour Tortillas
Tostada Shells
Tortilla Soup
Breaded Fish
Raspberry Iced Tea (where available)

Keep in mind that we use only one fryer in each restaurant to fry both gluten and non-gluten items; Chips, Taquitos, Flautas, Tostada Shells, Breaded Fish.

The following do not contain wheat gluten-
 Baja Tacos made with corn tortillas
Any "Bare style" burrito our Baja Ensalada, with choice of steak, chicken, grilled shrimp or Mahi Mahi, grilled vegetables, carnitas, rice & both varieties of beans
All of our dressings and salsas contain no gluten

The above information is based on standard product formulations and is current as of January 15, 2009. Variations may occur due to differences in suppliers, ingredient substitutions, recipe revisions, or product assembly at the restaurant level.  We use only one fryer in each restaurant to fry both gluten and non-gluten items; Chips, Taquitos, Flautas, Tostada Shells, Breaded Fish.

Our ingredient listings are reported by the manufacturers. Baja Fresh® Mexican Grill, its franchisees and employees do not assume responsibility for a particular sensitivity or allergy to any food provided in our restaurants. We encourage anyone with food sensitivities, allergies, or special dietary needs to consult with a medical professional for informed answers relating to their specific sensitivities and the risks involved when dining out.

Burger King

It looks like you can still have it your way at BK!

Carl's Jr

We don't have these on the East Coast but from what I understand they are pretty popular


They seem to know their stuff - just based off of their information below.

Five Guys

In my experience they are very gluten friendly. Their fryers only fry french fries and the fries are made fresh everyday. I don't know if their cajun seasoning is safe but the fries are delicious without it. And Five Guys cooks their burgers on one grill top and buns on another and all items are placed on foil instead of a bare counter. They will happily change their gloves to deal with your food if you ask. 

I 100% no longer recommend Five Guys as a safe place for celiacs to eat. I would suggest avoiding it like the plague - especially if you live in Southern New Jersey -DO NOT VISIT ANY SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY FIVE GUYS LOCATION.

In-N-Out Burger

They don't have an allergen menu but you can order any burger "Protein Style" and get it on a lettuce "bun".

Jack in the Box

Not a super helpful menu - instead they refer you to a list of ingredients.


This list is a lot to go through...

Panera Bread

If you tell them you have celiac they will hand you a ginormous book filled with all of their dishes containing  every, single ingredient. It made me much easier to order.

Red Robin

A pretty good amount of choices here and I've heard that some Red Robins do have a dedicated fryer for french fries so ask at your location. Plus I hear they are awesome about letting you use a gluten free bun.


Lots of choices here - I've never eaten at a Sonic but I might have to now that I know their tator tots are gf!


Almost all of their salads are gf and all of their deli meats are gf

Taco Bell

Not a lot of options and definitely DO NOT order tacos


Frosty's are gf people! This is fantastic news!

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