Woman gets sick after eating pizza described as gluten-free - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Woman gets sick after eating pizza described as gluten-free

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WEST HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

A woman said she got sick after ordering a pizza she thought was gluten-free, and now she's looking for answers.

Channel 3's Kate Rayner went to the restaurant to ask them about how their risky gluten-free menu options is causing some serious problems for the customer.

Kate Bradley said when she heard that a local pizza restaurant near her office was making the gluten-free pizza, she immediately wanted to place an order.

"I was really excited that this restaurant offers gluten-free pizza because that's something I haven't been able to eat in almost a year and a half," she said.

Bradley was diagnosed with celiac disease, an auto-immune condition that causes a toxic reaction if you eat gluten. That means things like traditional pasta, breads and cookies are off limits unless they're made with substituted ingredients, and don't come in contact with any foods containing gluten.

"I ate a couple pieces of it, and realized there were pieces of the breaded eggplant hidden underneath spinach, and mushroom," she said.

She said she went back to the restaurant to explain the problem, and a short time later she got sick and needed to leave work.

Luna Pizza owner Alex MacDonald didn't want to comment on camera, but he said he knew how serious the problem is, and is making changes.

The restaurant also apologized to Bradley and sent her an e-mail saying, "As we are not a gluten free restaurant, we cannot guarantee with 100 percent certainty that there is no contamination; however we can certainly do better in ensuring that our gluten free products are kept completely separately from the rest of our menu items, so that an incident like this does not happen again."

MacDonald said he is also teaching his staff about the seriousness of celiac disease and other dietary restrictions.

"People understand when you have a peanut allergy, it can be life or death," Bradley said. "People don't understand what I mean when I say I need my food completely gluten-free."

The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness advocates for people with gluten sensitivities.

A spokesperson for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness said they have published regulations for gluten free food, which are expected to be enforced by restaurants. However, it is unclear how often restaurants are held accountable for complying with the new guidelines. 

Diners must be careful and suggest calling the restaurant ahead of time, asking detailed questions about food preparation, and ingredients and asking if the chefs are trained in dealing with gluten free diets.

"I'm so happy that restaurants are offering gluten-free options," Bradley said. "My hope is that restaurants will take this story and use it to educate their staff about what celiac disease means."

For more information about the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, click here.

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