Gluten-testing: New York Deli

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I was in New York recently, staying in midtown Manhattan. Anyone who stays in NY knows that there is a deli on just about every block or two. Many of them have large spreads of food for breakfast and lunch, tempting and incredibly convenient, such as the one shown in the photo from Ashley’s Fine Foods on Lexington.

Obviously, there is no way to test each and every food among the hundreds of delis on Manhattan streets. But I wanted to know specifically if at least some of them can be free of gluten residues (to no more than 20 ppm), as tested by the Nima device. If you’ve been to any of these places, you will recognize right away that talking to staff is not easy: many only speak stumbling, if any, English, and are hurried, under the gun of the NY pace of life. Good luck trying to find out if cross-contamination issues apply.

So I tested the sausage patty and one of the bacon choices offered among their plentiful breakfast choices, both shown on the right side of the photo below. Such breakfast meats are often sources for cross-contamination due to shared work surfaces and/or utensils. (The deli makes no claims that any of these foods are gluten-free.) Can you indulge in such anonymous food choices and remain safe?

I have to admit that I assumed that such meats are ubiquitously exposed to cross-contamination and would test positive. But, in these two instances, they proved negative for gluten residues.

Obviously, two negative results on meats prepared in an indecipherable kitchen in midtown Manhattan should NOT be generalized to all such deli buffets, but it is a bit reassuring that you can indeed obtain at least some foods not contaminated by grains.

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