"I just felt I needed to check. I was getting worried."
The mother of a six-year-old girl with coeliac disease has said that a restaurant’s dessert menu was falsely advertised as gluten-free, resulting in her daughter becoming unwell.
Her order was sent back several times before the family was “reassured by the manager” that the food was safe for the child to eat.
Rabab Mohammad, from Wigston, Leicestershire, went out for a meal with her family, including six-year-old Qirat Khalid, who has coeliac disease.
The auto-immune disease means she can suffer from severe stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhoea and other symptoms.
The family went to dessert parlour Haute Dolci in Granby Street as it had a gluten-free menu.
Mrs Mohammad uses a sensor to test food items for gluten. While at the venue, the sensor made her suspicious.
She said: “We ordered waffles and we had to send it back twice because it had gluten in it. I kept using it and I thought maybe I just need to trust them.
“It was distressing for my daughter as well so just trusted them.
“The manager eventually came out and brought her waffles reassuring us that he made them himself and they did not contain gluten.
“But as she was eating them I just felt I needed to check. I was getting worried.”
The sensor showed that the waffles contained gluten.
By the time the family returned home, Mrs Mohammad said her daughter was feeling unwell.
A Haute Dolci spokesperson said: “We are very sorry to hear about this incident and we are working closely with the local team to investigate.
“In the meantime, we would like to reassure our customers that we take food allergies very seriously and follow strict procedures in-line with industry standards.”
Mrs Mohammad said: “We rarely go out as it is because of her condition.
“It can make it so difficult for us to find places where she can have something suitable so we really struggle.”
“But this time we thought we’d try it because they actually have a whole separate gluten-free menu and we were just shocked because it’s quite a well-known place.”
The restaurant has since apologised to Mrs Mohammad.
The mother-of-two says she wants to raise awareness for other families in the same position. She says coeliac is a “serious auto-immune disease” and should be treated accordingly by restaurants.
Due to the condition, Qirat has had to miss school on numerous occasions.
Mrs Mohammad said they had to stop going out for family meals and do a lot of research on finding alternatives for her daughter to eat.
She added: “As a parent, it can be quite heartbreaking to watch your child suffer like that.
“She rarely gets to go to birthday parties and things like that because she can’t eat with the other kids and I have to check everything before she can eat.”