Americans love pizza. Actually, American’s love a lot of foods they would be better off without, but that’s a subject for a different blog. The point is, that for those of us who refrain from eating gluten, having a national food chain publicize that they are offering a gluten-free alternative of their food is a validation. We feel that we’ve been heard and that enough of us are out there that we are making a difference in the food that is being offered to us.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that sometimes there is a ‘disconnect’ between the idea of offering a truly gluten-free product and the practicality of that product remaining gluten-free when the consumer ingests it.
What do I mean? I’m talking about cross-contamination.
Dominos has made a gluten-free crust – fact. However, Dominos did not delve into the problem of cross-contamination. As soon as that gluten-free crust is unwrapped, it is at the mercy of any wheat flour that may be floating around in the environment. And if you think about pizza crust being thrown up in the air, you quickly realize that unless every Dominos has a delegated room for their gluten-free pizza, we are in trouble.
And just a short time after their launch on May 7th, Dominos stated that store operations are such that they cannot guarantee that the crust is free from cross contamination when it reaches the customer.
This is a huge problem! What it means is that this ‘gluten-free’ pizza is not safe to consume for anyone with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity or a wheat allergy.
I am not alone in my opinion, but the Celiac Research Center out of the University of Maryland and the Gluten Intolerance Group concur. They too have stated that this product is not safe to consume.
On a more positive pizza note, the Chuck E. Cheese food chain has found a way to eliminate cross contamination in their gluten-free pizza. While currently only available in the state of Minnesota, Chuck E Cheese is offering a personal size pizza that is made in a dedicated gluten-free facility where it is wrapped and then delivered to the restaurant frozen. There it is cooked in the packaging and when it is delivered to the customer, it comes with its own pizza cutter.
See? That doesn’t sound too hard. Let’s tell Domino’s.
I recently had a similar experience when a local bakery contacted me asking for my endorsement of their gluten-free products while urging me to recommend them to my patients. A short discussion revealed that they were taking no precautions to prevent cross contamination and we making gluten-containing products in the same area and at the same time as those that had gluten-free ingredients.
When I pointed out this issue as a serious one, the owner stated that perhaps his food wasn’t for the ‘hypersensitive people’. Well, you can imagine my response, even AFTER taking a deep breath to contain my upset!
I asked him to really get educated on the subject and made recommendations on how he could do that. I never heard back from him.
Here’s the cautionary take-home. Personally I was not that surprised that a little ‘mom and pop’ bakery was not up to speed on cross contamination issues. However, I was extremely surprised that a huge food chain such as Dominos was ignorant. Being gluten intolerant requires a vigilance that is demanding. Therefore if you find yourself in a restaurant or bakery, I strongly urge you to ask questions before consuming their gluten-free products.
Questions you should ask:
1. What are the ingredients?
2. Where is the product prepared?
3. Is the company manufacturing the product a designated gluten-free facility?
4. What precautions does the restaurant or bakery utilize to prevent cross contamination?
I hope this was helpful. I’d like to hear back from you regarding any experiences you’ve had in this area.
Would you help me out and let others know these warnings? We work hard enough to maintain our gluten-free status, we certainly don’t need to be given a false sense of security from supposedly gluten free food options that are in fact contaminated.
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To your good health,
Author of the eBook: “Gluten Intolerance – What you don’t know may be killing you!”Permission is granted to re-post this article in its entirety with credit to Dr Vikki Petersen & HealthNOW Medical Center and a clickable link back to this page. Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN is founder of HealthNOW Medical Center and the author of “The Gluten Effect”. She has been featured in national magazines, international medical journals and is a frequent headlined speaker.