Monday, May 07, 2012

Dominos Gluten Free Pizza Option : Not for Celiac Disease Sufferers

Domino's Pizza Announces "Gluten-Free" Pizza Option

But, "Gluten-Free" is a Bit Subjective...

My wife just sent me a link to a business article on NBC News about how the major national pizza chain Domino's Pizza has just announced the availability of a "gluten-free" pizza crust option. There is a reason I keep putting "gluten-free" in quotes like this... and, the reason is due to the following quoted text from the announcement (note my bold and orange highlights):
The country's largest pizza-delivery chain worked with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness to develop a crust that people who suffer from mild gluten intolerance can eat.

"Safe" for Celiac Disease Sufferers or Not?

OK, I love pizza. But, the part of that announcement qualifying this pizza as safe for those with "mild gluten intolerance" immediately removed any chance that *I* will be trying this pizza. My sensitivity to gluten is anything but mild, and I cannot afford to take any chance that I will be consuming something that contains enough gluten to cause a reaction.  But, this pizza is good news for many GF folks.

Dominoes Understands the Severity of Celiac Disease and Advises Persons with Celiac to Avoid

Further text quoted from the original article makes it quite clear that Domino's Pizza recognizes the limitations of their "gluten-free" pizza and its (lack of) suitability to Celiac Disease patients and highly-sensitive portions of the gluten-free community:
Domino's gluten-free pizza, which is available in the small, 10-inch size only, will cost a few bucks more than the regular crust. (It's more expensive to produce gluten-free baked goods than their conventional counterparts.)

Domino's cautions that its new pie isn't for anyone with severe gluten intolerance, otherwise known as celiac disease. Since the gluten-free pizzas will be prepared and baked in kitchens that also cook standard pizzas, people whose symptoms are triggered by cross-contamination should steer clear.

I am very glad Domino's Pizza is offering such a menu option for all the people that are simply trying to reduce the amount of gluten in their diet or have an otherwise mild allergy to gluten (and grains containing it: wheat, rye, barley).  It would of course be nice if there was a way to ensure the product was truly 100% gluten-free and safe for all the gluten-free diet crowd, including highly-sensitive Celiac Disease sufferers. Then again, when baking a "gluten-free" pizza at a business location that churns out millions of regular (i.e., wheat-flour-based) pizzas, it seems like it would be very difficult (if not impossible) to prevent some potential unintentional cross-contamination.

No matter what, I definitely applaud Dominos and other businesses for recognizing the gluten-free market and accommodating this diet in some fashion. It is perhaps mostly about economics for them, given the statement that "as many as 8 percent of Americans have cut gluten [...] out of their diets. [...and...] gluten-free foods has grown to a $6.2 billion market". No matter what the reasons for the new gluten-free pizza offering, it's a good thing to have more options out there in the market. I sure hope it tastes good (even though I will personally not be trying it).

Continue to read this Gluten-Free Blog for all sorts of gluten-free recipes, product-reviews, and related information. In addition, visit my Gluten-Free Recipes Site (including some great Gluten-Free Pizza Crust Recipes) where many of the recipes I have featured on this blog are available


Anonymous said...

This is crazy. Sorry to hear you're all going through this at the moment. Here in Australia, Domino's Pizza offered a gluten free base some years back but added a disclaimer saying that traces of gluten may be present. The Coeliac Society of Australia (now known as Coeliac Australia) said that "every time you drive a car, you risk dying. When we eat out with coeliac disease, we need to make informed decisions about what we eat, reduce the risk and most importantly enjoy the gluten free diet".

There seemed to be a good affiliation between them and Domino's at the time in 2009.

I am taking a wide variety of businesses in Australia to task who falsely and ILLEGALLY advertise gluten free food for the population! I posted on the issue of Domino's in Australia for anyone who's interested:

Scott said...

Thank you for this article. A friend of mine recently mentioned that Domino's advertised a gluten-free pizza and in the same breath sje mentioned it would not be safe for Celiac patients. My first thought was of cross contamination and you confirmed that.

Thankfully three local pizza shops in my area offer gluten free pies and have owners that take every action to minimize the risk of cross contamination. This may be an option for other celiac or highly sensitive patients.

Jason (Gluten Free / Dairy Free NJ) said...

I think this causes more confusion than it is worth. They could have done something similar to what Chuck E. Cheese is doing and bake the pies in sealed pouches: Chuck E. Cheese Press Release on New GF Pizza. The cynic in me thinks they're just looking to milk the good will and jump on the bandwagon.

The Om Nom Mama said...

While I love seeing restaurants making an attempt to cater to those of us who eat gluten-free, I'm just a little frustrated with the cross-contamination issue. I understand it's hard to re-build kitchens and ovens in order to conform to everyone's diet specifications, but if you can't do true gluten-free then don't call it gluten-free.