Grabbing a gluten free Subway has always been a gluten free sandwich lover's dream.
But does Subway do gluten free bread? And is gluten free Subway suitable for coeliacs?
Subway chains in the UK launched gluten free bread in 2019 and it kind of divided the gluten free community into two.
On the one hand, non-coeliac gluten free people were super happy, while coeliacs were just left rolling their eyes.
Because there's something about the overwhelming smell of bread when you walk in the door that, as a coeliac, I find kinda... off-putting?
And rightly so because it seems as though the gluten free Subway options might not be as coeliac-safe as you'd hope.
Even two years on, I've seen a lot of chat and confusion about the gluten free Subway offerings and if they are safe for people with coeliac disease.
So I decided to put together a guide to what is gluten free in Subway UK stores and how they handle cross contamination.
Please note, this information is correct as of August 2021 and while I try to always update these posts, please ALWAYS double check allergen information with stores.
Subway gluten free bread options
For starters, let's have a look at the Subway gluten free bread options in the UK.
While most Subs come as a footlong option, the gluten free option is only available in a smaller size - did you expect anything less?
The Subway gluten free bread is available in a 6-inch roll size only.
It comes in a sealed pack so there is no risk of cross contamination before it arrives at the store.
The gluten free bread at Subway's UK stores is manufactured in a completely gluten free environment, meaning it is suitable for people with coeliac disease.
However, this won't account for any cross contamination once the pack is opened - we'll cover that in a minute.
According to the allergen menu, the Subway gluten free bread is also dairy free, egg free, nut free and vegan.
Is Subway gluten free menu safe for coeliacs?
In my personal opinion? I'm going to say no.
The Subway gluten free bread in the sealed pack would be coeliac-safe as it is baked in a gluten free environment.
However, some of Subway's fillings are not gluten free, and with all those breadcrumbs flying around, I find it hard to see how a gluten free sandwich would not get contaminated.
Subway's website has the usual allergen warning, stating that: "other menu items and ingredients in our restaurants contain gluten and are prepared on shared equipment, so we cannot guarantee that our menu items are 100% gluten-free."
As with most mixed facility restaurants, the answer here is going to be to exercise your own judgement.
But I don't believe that somewhere with this much bread can really be safe for a coeliac.
For example, when ordering a Subway for my boyfriend the other day, I witnessed the server tip the entire contents of a bread roll back into the fillings.
The very same fillings which they would, presumably, then fill a gluten free sandwich with...
Would I risk it?
Personally the only way I would 'risk' eating this, is if it was prepared in a completely separate area, with completely separate gloves, equipment and fresh fillings.
But from what I have seen of Subway stores, the way the sandwich bar is set up simply doesn't account for this.
I have seen people on Facebook talking about their good experiences with staff in some stores going above and beyond to make a gluten free Sub as safe as possible.
In my mind, the risk is too great. I've worked in a sandwich shop before I know those crumbs get everywhere.
And having risked fillings being tipped from gluten-y rolls back into the counter, it's an absolute no from me.
Of course if you have IBS/a gluten intolerance/avoid gluten for any other reason and don't have to worry about cross contamination, you'll be fine.
But as a coeliac, I would absolutely avoid it myself.
Which Subway fillings are gluten free?
It's important to also note that if you're ordering a gluten free Subway in the UK, not all of the fillings are gluten free.
As of August 2021, the gluten free fillings at UK Subway stores are:
- Roast chicken breast strips
- Turkey breast
- Maple cured streaky bacon
- Breakfast back bacon
- Tuna (with lite mayonnaise)
- Egg omelette
- Poached egg
- Roasted soya strips
- Every cheese
- All of the salads
- All sauces and condiments EXCEPT Hickory Smoked BBQ, HP Brown Sauce and Crispy Onions
Are Subway meatballs gluten free?
Sadly in the UK, Subway meatballs are not gluten free.
I always dreamed of a gluten free Meatball Marinara and if you did so, unfortunately the search continues.
However, if you want to make your own, I have my own Subway dupe Meatball Marinara recipe for you to try instead.
It's super easy to make and so worth it!
Are there any other gluten free options at Subway?
Subway does offer a number of salad boxes as well as it's gluten free bread.
They don't have a specific gluten free menu, so it's a case of picking and choosing which items you want from the allergen menu.
However, given the risk of cross contamination with the rolls, I wouldn't trust a salad from there either.
Even if staff clean down the preparation area and change their gloves as advised, there's still the risk from 'double dipping' in the fillings.
With no separate gluten free preparation area, it's just not a risk I'm willing to take. I'd rather go hungry.
Does Subway gluten free bread cost more?
I mean, it was already half the size of a footlong sub, are you surprised to hear you also have to pay 50p more for it?
Because yes, sadly, gluten free bread at Subway costs 50p more than any of the 'normal' breads.
Yes, I get gluten free stuff is always more expensive, but sadly that seems to be the price we end up pay for having coeliac disease.
Mind you, with their risk of cross contamination, I won't be spending out that extra 50p after all...
What do you think?
Have you had a gluten free Subway?
Would you chance it with coeliac disease or is it too great a risk to warrant trying it?
Maybe one day Subway will work out a way to do a coeliac-safe gluten free Sub, but until then, I think I'll just keep making my own.
Comment below and let me know if you agree - or if you've had a good or bad experience!
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