Report: The Domino’s Gluten-Free Pizza Caveat

Posted at 7:44 AM, May 15, 2012
and last updated 2012-05-15 07:44:06-04

Brian Walker — CNN Eatocracy

(CNN) — Domino’s Pizza is delivering some good news to gluten-free eaters, but not everyone with sensitivity to the stuff is happy with the move.

The pie chain announced that it will be offering gluten free crust at all of its nearly 5,000 stores in the US beginning this week, and claims to be the first delivery chain to do that nationwide.

“The prevalence of gluten sensitivity has become a real issue with significant impact on consumer choice, and we want to be a part of the solution,” said J. Patrick Doyle, Domino’s Pizza president and CEO. “Now, the whole group can enjoy Domino’s with the addition of our new Gluten Free Crust.”

But Domino’s has a big caveat in its announcement: the crust is only appropriate for people with “mild gluten sensitivity.” That has some that suffer from Celiac disease scratching their heads and angered that they are left out and potentially put at risk.

While the crust is made of rice flour, and rice and potato starch, it is made right alongside the regular wheat crusts leading to possible cross contamination.

“If they are going to do this, why not go all the way and do it right?” says Jennifer Harris.

Harris, the writer of the Atlanta Gluten Free Examiner blog says she’s upset about the product and that Domino’s marketing may lead to real problems for people suffering Celiac like herself who may see the “gluten free” label but not all the warnings.

Harris says that gluten should be treated like any other allergen in the kitchen, or customers may suffer the painful and persistent reactions.

She claims that unless the crusts are prepared and baked in a separate kitchen facility that airborne flour, crumbs and employees hands and uniforms will inevitably get on to the gluten free food.

“Just an eighth of a fingernail’s amount of flour can lay me out for three days,” she explains.

But Domino’s appears to be aiming for customers with either mild gluten sensitivity or seeking to follow a low-carb diet trend. That’s good for those watching portion sizes, as the pizza only comes in a 10-inch size

The chain has partnered with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness to promote the pizza and there is a pop-up warning when ordering the crust option online.

“The NFCA is thrilled that Domino’s Pizza has developed a product that will improve the quality of life for many of the estimated 18 million Americans who are gluten sensitive,” said Alice Bast, NFCA founder and president.

But while gluten free crusts are often available at urban health-oriented restaurants, does the convenience of having it available nearly everywhere in the US outweigh any potential dangers to people with high sensitivity? Weigh in at