You may have heard the big news that Domino’s now offers a 10 inch gluten-free pizza crust. But don’t get your hopes up. It comes with a disclaimer. I want to say upfront that I will not be eating this pizza, and I do not recommend that you eat it.
The Domino’s press release states,
“While Domino’s new Gluten Free Crust is appropriate for those with mild gluten sensitivity, Domino’s and the NFCA do not recommend it for those with celiac disease. Domino’s and the NFCA found that while the crust is certified as gluten free, current store operations at Domino’s cannot guarantee that each handcrafted pizza will be completely free from gluten.”
The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) has given Domino’s its GREAT Kitchens amber designation. But NFCA states,
“Please be advised all of Domino’s menu items, including pizza made with Gluten Free Crust, are prepared in a common kitchen. While the Gluten Free Crust contains no gluten ingredients, there is a risk of gluten exposure. NFCA supports the availability of Gluten Free Crust at Domino’s, but CANNOT recommend the pizza for customers with celiac disease. Customers with gluten-related disorders other than celiac disease should exercise their own judgment in consuming pizza made with Gluten Free Crust. “
According to NFCA’s FAQ page (this is just a small part of the information on that page and I encourage you to click over and read more):
- The Gluten Free Crust is stored in a separate area of the walk-in cooler until it is ordered.
- The Gluten Free Crust pizza is made on the same pizza screen and uses the same makeline, ingredients, and utensils as all other pizzas.
- Employees use the same pizza peel and pizza cutter on the Gluten Free Crust pizza as all other pizzas.
- There is no airborne flour in the store.
Who Can Eat It?
According to Domino’s, the pizza is safe for people with a mild gluten sensitivity. To me that sounds like it is geared towards people who have gone gluten-free as a fad diet.
I’m not surprised that a place like Domino’s would jump on the fad bandwagon, but I’m disappointed that they don’t have more regard for those of us who need to eat gluten free for medical and health reasons.
This is not Dominos pizza – photo source
The non-celiac gluten sensitive people I know are not mildly sensitive. They are very sensitive, and those who think their sensitivity is mild are probably not facing the truth.
The pizza crust contains less than 20 parts per million of gluten (a level that many people react to), but the pizza itself is likely to have more than that after being prepared in a Domino’s kitchen where everything is shared.
That’s why the company is clear that this pizza is not safe for people with celiac disease. My opinion is that it’s almost certainly not safe for anyone who eats gluten-free for medical or health reasons.
Organizations Weighing In
“As an international celiac research center with expertise in gluten-related disorders, we believe that individuals who have been diagnosed with a gluten-related disorder should NOT consume this product.”
“Food services should approach gluten free meal options the same way they handle allergens. There is only one option – food that is safe for all persons living gluten free, no matter why they are living gluten free.”
NFCA’s Amber Designation
Considering that the “C” in their acronym stands for “Celiac” I was totally miffed at the fact that they would give their amber designation to Domino’s and then state that it’s not safe for celiacs. I believe this move has the potential to confuse and endanger those with celiac disease.
I understand that NFCA desires to help the gluten-free community and not simply those with celiac disease, but I don’t see how this helps the community. I think that gluten sensitivity needs to be taken more seriously. And there is also the fact that there are people who went gluten free without being tested for celiac or whose tests were not done properly. Those people fall under the gluten sensitive category but could very well have celiac disease.
Yesterday, NFCA published another statement regarding their GREAT Kitchens designations. While their green designation might have some value, I have come to believe that the amber designation means nothing. They helped Domino’s see that they needed a disclaimer, but nothing is being done to reduce the risk of cross contamination.
I understand that Domino’s was going to release the gluten-free crust anyway, and NFCA was trying to help by getting Domino’s to let people know that the finished pizza is not gluten free because of cross contamination. I think it would have been better if they had advised Domino’s but not given the restaurant any kind of designation, because some people will see NFCA and think that it’s safe.
I think a designation should mean something for the consumer and indicate some level of effort a restaurant has taken to prevent cross contamination, not just that the company issues a disclaimer.
Questions for NFCA
Tonight (Thursday) at 7:00 pm eastern time, Alice Bast, director of NFCA will be the guest on Gluten Free Voice Radio Show with Jules Gluten Free. Please submit any questions you have to Jules. Update: You can now listen to the interview on Gluten Free Voice.
Your health is your responsibility. You are responsible to educate yourself and make informed decisions. For example, you should know that if you have celiac disease, you should not be basing what you can and cannot eat on your symptoms. Some people with celiac have no obvious outward symptoms, yet autoimmune reactions are happening when gluten is consumed.
I will be taking responsibility for my health by not eating the Domino’s gluten-free pizza. Not simply because the disclaimer says I shouldn’t, but because I have read the information and decided for myself that that the risk of cross contamination is great and the crust itself may even have a higher level of gluten that I consider safe.
What Do You Think?
Well, that’s my opinion on the matter. What do you think?