Red Lobster’s Gluten-Free Menu Sparks Debate

December 17, 2010

Red Lobster’s Gluten-Free Menu Sparks Debate

New allergen menu is a step forward, but diners demand more celiac-friendly options.

Earlier this week, Red Lobster announced that, in response to diners’ requests, the chain restaurant had introduced a new allergen menu. The new menu, available online and at Red Lobster locations, identifies which dishes contain gluten or common allergens like eggs, soy and peanuts. The menu is also dated, the company noted, to avoid any confusion when recipes are updated.

The announcement earned mixed reviews in the celiac and gluten-free community. Comments on listservs and online forums suggested that while some were pleased with the step Red Lobster had taken to better serve the community, others were disappointed by the limited gluten-free options. Among the complaints, items that appeared to be gluten-free (indicated by not having a dot in the “Wheat/Gluten” allergen category) were also flagged for a possible cross-contamination risk.

In October, T.G.I. Friday’s introduced an Allergen Supplement Menu to accommodate diners with food allergies or gluten sensitivity.