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A survey to ascertain the ability to purchase a gluten-free meal on request in a restaurant setting

Project Reference: 03-2009

Status: Completed

Commencement Date: June, 2009

Project Duration: 4 months


The objective of this research was to:

  1. ascertain the level of awareness of dietary needs of coeliacs among restaurant industry staff
  2. determine the possibility of purchasing a gluten-free meal on request in a restaurant setting using methodology that is directly relevant to those with coeliac condition
  3. ascertain if the level of knowledge of coeliac condition and the response to a request for a gluten-free meal differ between those restaurants listed as Coeliac-friendly and those which are not listed 
  4. quantitatively analyse 300 restaurant meal samples for gluten using an approved laboratory methodology 
  5. inform the need for measures to augment awareness of coeliac condition in the restaurant industry.

The survey showed that the vast majority of restaurants on the island of Ireland are able to accommodate a diner’s request for a gluten free meal. However, it also highlighted that often serious mistakes can still be made, even when customers are presented with gluten free choices in coeliac friendly restaurants. The research showed how vitally important it is that all staff are aware of the coeliac condition and the importance of gluten free food and the importance of good communication with coeliac customers.

Principal Contractor(s):

Mr Rory Mannion, Western Region Public Analyst’s Laboratory, Galway


Environmental Health Services, Health Services Executive, Northern Ireland District & Borough Councils



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