Celiacs Beware – T’is the Season for Caring and Sharing But …

Celiacs Beware copyT’is the season for caring and sharing, but for celiacs, even the most well-intentioned bakers, tea rooms and bakeries can wreak havoc and make you ill!

If you are invited to purchase baking promoted as ‘gluten free,’ but you are not sure of the vendor’s credentials and reputation, be sure to ask:


a. Where do you purchase your ingredients?
b. Do you source ingredients that are labelled gluten free or come with gluten-free documentation?
c). Is gluten used in the same kitchen / baking area that you bake your ‘gluten-free’ products?
d. How can you be certain that the baking you say is gluten free contains <20ppm?
e. If your baking is gluten free, is it safe for celiacs?

a. Health food store
b. I use rice, sorghum, amaranth, teff etc. Aren’t they inherently gluten free?
c. Yes, but I wipe down the counters. Isn’t that enough?
d. No one has ever gotten sick from my baking.
e. FYI: if a product is promoted as gluten-free, gluten-friendly or in a way that ‘suggests’ it is be safe for a person requiring a gluten-free diet, it MUST be safe for celiacs. Health Canada has defined the term that way to protect our community. 

If you are accepting baking from a well-intentioned friend or relative, be sure that what they offering has been purchased from a manufacturer that you know and trust. Support the businesses that bake for us all year long – 100% gluten free!

More Questions!

Communication is the key ingredient to every successful gluten-free restaurant meal. When diners, chefs and servers are able to collaborate on what is required and what can be reasonably delivered, there is cause for celebration!

Start the Conversation on Gluten Free DiningQuestion #1

  • Please tell me about the meals  you recommend to diners who need to eat gluten free?


  • What ingredients will be used to make my order?
  • How do staff  know whether ingredients are really gluten free?
    • Says so on labels?
    • Checked product website?
    • Called the manufacturer?
    • Checked with The Celiac Scene? The CCA?
  • Will pure spices, prepared seasonings or soy sauce made from wheat be used to make my meal?
  • What other food items are cooked in the oil that ‘gluten-free’ items are cooked in?
  • How are sauces and dressings thickened?


  • How will my server communicate with the kitchen that a gluten-free order has been placed?
  • How are gluten-free orders prepared in relation to the regular flow of the kitchen?
  • Will staff wash their hands / change gloves / change aprons clean surfaces before preparing my order?
  • How do staff ensure that all utensils used in preparing my food are free from any trace of gluten?
    • Separate or scrubbed frying pan? Griddle scrubbed? Aluminum foil barrier? Dedicated pots? Dedicated colanders?
  • What other precautions do staff take to minimize / prevent cross contamination?
  • How will my server confirm with the kitchen that the order they are collecting has been prepared gluten free?
  • How will my server confirm that the order they are delivering to me is gluten free?

How did the restaurant learn how to meet the needs of gluten-free diners?

  • Through The Celiac Scene? Canadian Celiac Association?
  • Registered dietitian? Local health authority?
  • Staff members with celiac disease?

airborne wheat flourQuestions Specific to Pizza Restaurants 

Watch investigative video by Good Morning America.

  • The risk of cross contamination with airborne gluten flour is HIGH. Partake only if strict protocols are in place to protect your safety.
  • Are ‘gluten-free’ crusts prepared on-site? 
    • During regular operations? Before regular production? During downtimes / days?
    • See questions in Ingredient section above.
  • Are pre-made ‘gluten-free’ crusts purchased from a dedicated gluten-free manufacturer? Who is the manufacturer?
  • How are gluten-free sauces and toppings prepared?
    • During regular operations? Before regular production? During downtimes / days
    • See questions in Ingredient section above.
  • Will toppings be taken from the same ingredient bins that are used to top regular pizzas?
  • Will  sauces from the same containers be used to to dress both gluten and gluten-free crusts?
  • airborne wheat flourHow do staff ensure that all utensils used in preparing gluten-free orders are free of any trace of gluten?
  • How are utensils, crusts, sauces and toppings protected from cross-contamination with gluten while waiting to be used?

If the prospect of grilling restaurants about their gluten-free friendliness feels intimidating, you’ve got options!

Visit The Celiac Scene for restaurants that enjoy an excellent reputation within Victoria and Vancouver Island’s celiac community.

Join Victoria’s Gluten-Free Foodies to dine with a gluten-free group at carefully vetted restaurants. With more than 100 Meet-Ups under our belts, choose from a huge inventory of tried and tested celiac-friendly restaurants.