A Los Angeles man sues restaurant after visiting the Grand Canyon. The restaurant, located in the El Tovar Hotel, allegedly assured the Los Angeles artist his French onion soup was gluten free. But it was not.
Los Angeles native Todd Serlin, is suing because his soup was not gluten free. Todd has celiac disease. He and his partner, Mark Bauer, went to the Grand Canyon on vacation. They decided to stay at the El Tovar hotel and have a meal while they were there.
Mr. Serlin’s lawsuit claims he takes very careful measures to ensure he doesn’t consume food with gluten. Mr. Serlin claims he talked with the waitress several times to make sure the French soup he ordered could be safely made gluten free.
The waitress assured him the only gluten containing ingredient was the crouton, and by simply not including the crouton, the soup would be safe to eat.
The waitress also explained that there was an area of the kitchen set apart for preparing food for guests with food allergies and celiac disease.
Mr. Serlin requested the waitress talk with the chef and make sure the soup base was gluten free, as soup bases often contain gluten.
The waitress confirmed she spoke with the chef and that the dish was safe for someone with celiac disease. Mr. Serlin ate the soup and followed it with a main course of duck, vegetables, and rice.
Within a couple of hours, Mr. Serlin became sick. He had his typical celiac symptoms for ingesting gluten—nausea, migraine, vomiting, abdominal pain, etc.
MAN SUES RESTAURANT
The lawsuit claims it was later determined El Tovar served gluten containing food to Mr. Serlin. Todd Serlin is suing Xanterra, the parent company of the restaurant for over $100,000.
The suit claims he suffered “severe and permanent personal injuries” as a result of the meal and “will continue to suffer, for an indefinite time, great pain, suffering, significant discomfort, and a loss of quality of life.”
The case has been moved to federal court.
I’m of two minds about this issue. On the one hand, I do believe there should be some measure of accountability for restaurants who make claims their food is safe for people with allergies and autoimmune issues.
It’s frustrating that most restaurants who claim to have gluten free options DON’T have gluten free options in reality. And it’s frustrating that they aren’t held accountable for this.
In my mind, at the very least, they shouldn’t be able to make these claims without some kind of process or certification that can be provided to the customers.
On the other hand, I feel like someone with celiac disease should know better than to eat at a place that isn’t a dedicated gluten free restaurant—they should know it’s a gamble. Cross-contamination happens.
More than that, people who don’t have celiac disease have no way of understanding what’s required to ensure their food is gluten free. So I don’t know how fair it is to sue someone for something you know they can’t guarantee.
So I’m torn. I think the threat of a lawsuit may cause restaurants to be more circumspect in their claims, which will help the celiac community.
But is suing restaurants left and right the best way to go about raising awareness…?? I don’t know that it’s the best or the friendliest way.
What do you think? I’d love to hear your opinion on the matter.
If you enjoyed this article, check out Mislabeled Gluten Free Food Continues to Be a Problem.
Man sues restaurant source: Phoenix News Times