This is one of those posts I really wish I didn't have to do but I will. I'm also keeping the venue name private right now because they handled everything correctly once informed.
So I didn't get the best picture of this, but in the photo below is a tray from a breakfast setup for a meeting I was attending. The Turkey Sausage and Bacon was labelled gluten free, however and unfortunately, (and I have seen this done a lot), the sausage and bacon were put on top of slices of bread to absorb the grease instead of just using a wrack.
Why they do this? I am really not sure. It can't be that expensive to just have racks that insert into the trays to lift up from the grease instead of laying in grease soaked bread.
This is not just a lesson for caterers, but a lesson for everyone that requires a gluten free diet.
For the caterers, pay attention to your process and cross contamination when you label. If something is gluten free, but may be crossed with a shared fryer, or something like this. Indicate it. In this case, noticed it before anyone that required gluten free ate it, and it was corrected and a fresh batch was offered up. The staff were thankfully receptive, but I imagine they may not always be.
For those the customers, always talk to the wait staff, ask questions! This is your health. You are always eating at restaurants with caution, and eating at catered meetings at conference centers or hotels is still the same. If the staff can't answer you, or you did not get the answers you need ask to speak with the catering or banquet manager. Get the answers you need so you can make a good decision if the food is safe for you.
Lastly, for everyone. Be respectful.
Lets be respectful and understanding that not everyone understands are concerns, so lets continue to educate everyone thoughtfully and respectfully. Lets ask the staff questions, lets listen to what they have to say and talk about it.
Lets be respectful to everyone dietary needs. For the most part, this probably seems like an inconvenience. Lets ask the customers about their needs, lets listen to why it is important and lets talk about it.