Going out when you are coeliac and follow a gluten free diet is difficult at the best of times. Finding restaurants and cafes that cater for the gluten free diet correctly and are knowledgeable about avoiding cross contamination can be really tricky. Quite often especially coeliacs are risking a lot by accepting food that has been cooked in a shared fryer, not a dedicated gluten free fryer. But - does it matter?
Let s have a look at what happens when you eat food that has been cooked in a shared fryer
Does it really matter if the restaurant I have chosen for dinner has no dedicated gluten free fryer?
The short answer is yes! It does matter. Having food out of a fryer that has had gluten containing food cooked in it is similar to eating gluten free pasta that has been cooked in the same water than gluten containing pasta. You just wouldn't do that. So why should deep fried gluten free food out of a shared fryer be less contaminated?
When you fry crumbed or battered food in a deep fryer, small (and larger crumbs) get shed and float in the oil of the fryer. the heat of the oil does not destroy the gluten as you would need to exceed temperatures of above 260°C before the structure of the gluten protein is changed. This would also burn the food so the maximum temperature a deep fryer has is about 165°-175°C.
To show you you what can be in the oil, have a look at the images below:
This gives you a fair idea what floats around in the oil. If you now add any gluten free food into this to cook, the cross contamination risk is just very high. yes, you may be able to see the bigger crumbs and pick them of your fried gluten free food but you won't be able to see all the minute crumbs that attach to the food when fried.
So - apply the same rule to the deep fryer as you would to the toaster, chopping board, utensils and everything else: don't share it. You may be asymptomatic but the damage will still be happening.