The above photo is of the card my daughter sent to the chef who accidentally served her a hamburger bun that wasn’t gluten-free. This post is a story from our family’s gluten-free lifestyle. Here’s what happened…
Recently, my daughter went on a three-day school team building adventure. We considered not sending her because of her dietary restrictions: no gluten, dairy, oats, or buckwheat. In the past I’ve prepared food and sent it along with her when she goes on overnight school trips or to a friend’s house. But this time was different because the facility had experience with feeding children with food allergies. So, I communicated extensively with the adults in charge and felt it was time to trust others to feed my daughter. She packed up her gear, which included my special gluten-free s’mores kit, and off she went.
Unfortunately, on the second day my daughter got “glutened.” Even though the kitchen staff had procedures set in place and were fully informed of the dietary restrictions, my daughter was mistakenly served a regular wheat hamburger bun. The mistake was caught after she had eaten half the bun, which was too late. Luckily, we lived close enough to get her that night so she could be sick at home.
The kitchen staff had a reliable reputation for feeding children with food allergies, and yet this still happened. Our family doesn’t blame them because it’s so easy to make this mistake. Having been a chef myself, I understand the mad rush to serve food to numerous people. We are trained in food safety, but that’s targeted to raw meat cross contamination. The world of “gluten-free” is still so new, and our habits of slapping a bun on a burger are hard to break. Even the best trained and well intentioned make mistakes.
The kitchen staff immediately analyzed their protocol, sealed gaps in the system, and implemented new food-safe practices to be sure this never happens again. My take away was that I must teach my daughter always to double check and ask first before she eats anything, even though the adults say they are on it. And, my daughter learned how awful it feels to eat gluten again after three years of being gluten-free. If anyone doubts gluten sensitivity, just ask her.
She is still recovering from the exposure to gluten, and her experience has been most unpleasant. She said that she should have known the bun wasn’t gluten-free because it tasted so good! This is the life of an 11-year old girl who is gluten, dairy, oat, and buckwheat free and discovering that grownups make huge mistakes too. We are so sorry Sweetie. We are closing this chapter and moving on to the next.
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