Papa John's says gluten-free pizza not safe for those with a gluten-intolerance
By Aly Walansky, TODAY
(NBC News) - If you have a serious food allergy, a dish with a misleading label isn’t just dishonest — it can be downright dangerous.
Gluten-intolerant pizza lovers were probably excited to see the new Ancient Grains Gluten-Free Crust released by Papa John’s this week. According to the chain, the product's crust includes quinoa, sorghum, teff, and amaranth rather than traditional wheat flour.
Sounds great, right? Well, read between the lines before you start ordering. While gluten-free ingredients are indeed used to make the crust, the pizza itself is actually not considered safe for those who are gluten-free!
"Although Papa John's Ancient Grains Gluten-Free Crust is gluten-free and Papa John's employs procedures to prevent contact with gluten, it is possible that a pizza with Papa John's Ancient Grains Gluten-Free Crust is exposed to gluten during the ordinary preparation process," a representative for Papa John’s told CNBC .
"Please use your best judgment in ordering a pizza with Papa John's Ancient Grains Gluten-Free Crust if you have a sensitivity to gluten."
This means that if you have Celiac disease, or other gluten sensitivities that could land you in the hospital, you should not be eating this pizza. But, says the chain, the pizza is safe if you're simply trying to cut back on wheat in your diet.
Has any major chain cracked the gluten-free pizza code? Not quite. Pizza Hut makes its own gluten-free pies using gluten-free kits and tries to avoid ingredient cross-contamination by making them in a special facility. However, they warn that environment may not be entirely free of gluten.
Domino’s has a similar warning for its gluten-free offering. "After stretching the dough, small gluten particles could remain on the pizza maker's hands, which then touch the cheese and toppings and could transfer to these ingredients," says the Domino's website.
If you can't eat gluten but giving up pizza is out of the question, perhaps the answer is playing it safe and sticking to entirely gluten-free pizza spots. They are out there, we promise.