Monday, February 9, 2015

Lawsuit alleging gluten-free discrimination could be a bad thing

You may have read last week about the lawsuit filed against P.F. Chang's for charging extra for their gluten-free dishes.

The lawsuit was filed by someone who claims that the surcharge violates the Americans with Disabilities Act because those of us with celiac have no choice but to eat gluten-free dishes.

My reaction was that this lawsuit could be a bad thing, because some restaurants would just drop their gluten-free options rather than being forced to eat the added costs of gluten-free items.

Many restaurants that offer gluten-free bread or rolls as options have told me that they didn't see any choice but to add a surcharge because the gluten-free breads cost so much more than the other breads they serve. You look at a place like Epik Burger, where the owner's mother has celiac, and you know these people are sympathetic. But they're also not going to lose money.

At a place like P.F. Chang's where bread is not the issue, the restaurant maintains separate plates for gluten-free dishes so that they don't get cross contaminated with other dishes. I don't mind the extra cost.

I've been watching the reaction on social media and was actually surprised to find a lot of celiacs agree with me. Here's an interesting post from blog G-Free Foodie asking people to support restaurants that offer safe gluten-free options.

Hopefully, this lawsuit will not discourage restaurants that provide safe gluten-free meals.

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