Are Red Robin’s Frozen Seasoned Steak Fries gluten free?
I have seen some chatter about Red Robin’s new frozen bake-at-home Seasoned Steak Fries and thought I should take a look to see if they are truly Gluten Free.
As most people know, Red Robin Gourmet Burger Restaurants have a GF menu that includes steak fries. It is a special treat for my kids to get to have GF fries and a burger on a GF bun at Red Robin.
Recently, Red Robin launched a frozen bake-at-home seasoned steak fry that you can purchase at the grocery store. According to Red Robin, the “(s)easoned Steak Fries are now available in frozen food aisles nationwide, prepared with a signature blend of Red Robin Seasoning Salt® and offering the same great taste as the Bottomless Steak Fries™ served in Red Robin restaurants. “
I was concerned when I saw some mentions of them on other GF blogs. Just because the restaurant fries are GF does not mean we can assume the frozen fries will be GF as well.
I reached out to Red Robin and found out that the new frozen steak fries are different from the ones in the restaurant. And in fact, while all of the ingredients on the steak fries are GF, a representative from Red Robin confirmed that “(a)ll ingredients used are gluten free but we do NOT test for gluten, therefore it is NOT gluten free.”
You can read the response from Red Robin below but the bottom line is that they are not considered GF because of the risk of cross-contamination. While none of the ingredients contain gluten they are processed in a factory that processes other food items with wheat in them. Even though the supplier has an Allergen Control Program, the finished product is not tested for gluten content so they cannot guarantee that it is in fact GF.
Here is the official statement from the supplier:
“Most of the thousands of potato products manufactured by (Red Robin’s Supplier) do not contain any ingredients from a gluten “watch” list (composed mainly of wheat, rye, barley and potentially oats) – nor any ingredients derived from those food components. However, most of our processing plants do utilize wheat and other Major Food Allergens (MFA) to a limited extent in specific products. This scenario therefore requires that (Red Robin’s Supplier) employs a comprehensive Allergen Control Program in all of our food production facilities, including rigorous sanitation processes on a regular and documented basis - in order to reduce allergen risk related to any cross-contamination potential.
The most reliable method for customers to confirm whether any of our product formulations contain wheat (and therefore gluten) is to reference the current product package ingredient statement. These statements are maintained, updated and verified per each product’s ingredient formulation. Even though to the best of our knowledge, gluten should not be present in formulations absent wheat or other gluten-containing ingredients, we have not analyzed finished products for the actual presence-absence of such gluten proteins.”