IS DOMINO'S GLUTEN-FREE PIZZA SAFE?
No. Just don't do it - your intestinal villi and gut will thank you. After the uproar from the community with Celiac Disease, gluten intolerance, and non-Celiac gluten sensitivity, I was shocked that Domino's still offers what I like to call "pretend gluten-free pizza".
Ready for an emotional gluten-free roller coaster? Read on.
DOMINO'S GLUTEN-FREE PIZZA MAKES ME MAD
Why the heck would a company offer a gluten-free pizza on their menu with this disclaimer (via their website - with some shouting all caps involved):
Domino's is proud to offer our Gluten Free Crust for those who are looking to reduce gluten in their diet. Domino's pizza made with a Gluten Free Crust is prepared in a common kitchen with the risk of gluten exposure. Therefore, Domino's DOES NOT recommend this pizza for customers with celiac disease.
Say what? So Domino's offers a gluten-free pizza, but only for people "looking to reduce gluten in their diet". Who would willingly reduce gluten in their diet? And why would they go to a pizza place - one of the tastiest places to find gluten - to buy a gluten-reduced pie?
If I could eat gluten, I'd be hoovering pizza, donuts, cookies, cakes, and bread until I was in a glorious gluten-filled coma.
DOMINO'S GLUTEN-FREE PIZZA MAKES ME MAD
It's exciting when the gluten-free community hears of a new gluten-free offering and word spreads quickly. So why am I sad? I think about those newly diagnosed children and adults who may be unknowingly glutening themselves. Symptoms of ingesting gluten range widely from no external symptoms to severe diarrhea and vomiting (sadly, I'm the latter).
Domino's is very clear on their website as well as informational video disclosing "while the Gluten Free Crust is certified to be free of gluten, the pizzas made with the Gluten Free Crust use the same ingredients and utensils as all of our other pizzas." While I wholeheartedly appreciate Domino's transparent website information, I wondered what about the person who phones in an order to Domino's? Do the stores share the gluten-free disclosure for phone orders?
I called three Domino's locations across the United States (Gibbstown, New Jersey; Decatur, Texas; and South Pasadena, California). I ordered a gluten-free pizza with extra cheese. NONE of the locations alerted me to their gluten-free disclaimer. None. FYI - I did cancel each order.
WHAT DOES 20PPM MEAN?
Domino's states that "our Gluten Free Crust contains no wheat, rye, or barley and has a gluten content of less than 20ppm".
20ppm tends to be the gold standard in the gluten-free community, so many who hear less than 20ppm may immediately think "whoo hoo - gluten-free"!
Per the Food and Drug Industry (FDA):
As one of the criteria for using the claim “gluten-free,” FDA set a limit of less than 20 ppm (parts per million) for the unavoidable presence of gluten in foods that carry this label. That is the lowest level that can be consistently detected in foods using valid scientific analytical tools. Also, most people with celiac disease can tolerate foods with very small amounts of gluten. This level is consistent with those set by other countries and international bodies that set food safety standards.
“This standard ‘gluten-free’ definition eliminates uncertainty about how food producers label their products. People with celiac disease can rest assured that foods labeled gluten-free’ meet a clear standard established and enforced by FDA,” says Felicia Billingslea, director of the FDA's division of food labeling and standards.
BUT I WANT A GLUTEN-FREE PIZZA!
I get it - pizza is wondrous. What's the safest way to chow down on gluten-free pizza?
- Option A is to find a 100% gluten-free restaurant that serves gluten-free pizza (that's a tall order).
- Option B is to have a pizza party in your kitchen. Make your own pizza dough or use a gluten-free pizza crust as a base. Build your own - go crazy and add that pineapple!
- Option C is to have some frozen gluten-free pies on hand that you can pop in your oven or toaster oven (many GF pizzas are personal size). Against the Grain, Udi's, and Glutino all offer gluten-free frozen pizzas.