Food Safety

Domino's New Crust Tests (Mostly) Gluten-Free

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Tue, Jun 5, 2012 at 12:45 PM
click to enlarge The gluten-free crust is made with rice flour. - DOMINO'S
  • Domino's
  • The gluten-free crust is made with rice flour.

Domino's, we may have wronged you.

Last month, we wrote about the pizza chain's new "gluten-free" crust, and how the company added a bunch of disclaimers to that description, including saying the new pizza "was not recommended for people with celiac disease." Although the pizza was made with gluten-free ingredients, it was not prepared in a gluten-free kitchen, meaning there was a chance of cross-contamination. So, we called bogus on the whole thing, thinking it was just a marketing gimmick.

Then Max Librach, a celiac with a pizza craving who runs Eagle Therapeutics, which produces supplements for people with celiac disease, decided to test Domino's gluten-free pizza in three cities: New Orleans, Boston and Washington, D.C. The company did it at its own expense and without tipping off Domino's, because Librach "loves dining out."

Once at the lab, each pizza was homogenized (think high-grade food processor) to ensure that the whole pizza was tested, not just a small piece. The result? The pizzas from Boston and New Orleans had undetectable levels of gluten. The pizza from Washington, D.C., tested positive for 7 parts per million of gluten, less than the Gluten-Free Certification Organization's (GFCO) "gluten-free" standard of 10 ppm.

Librach thinks Domino's should get props for bending over backward with its disclaimers about its gluten-free crust (perhaps we have Domino's legal department to thank for that). "It's a shame that Domino's is getting such a bad rap for what seems like profuse honesty," he told Squid Ink. "None of the other national restaurant chains that offer gluten-free products are so truthful about the risk of cross-contamination (Outback Steakhouse, P.F. Chang's, Legal Seafood, Subway, etc.)."

However, Librach added his own cautionary note: "This doesn't mean that we endorse Domino's for people with celiac disease. Instead, we just want to provide these test results in an objective way to help people with celiac disease decide what's best for them." He points out that his lab tested pizza from only three of the 5,000 Domino's locations in the U.S.

But, a couple of things. We're sorry, Domino's -- your new crust may really be gluten-free, but your pizza still remains palatable only to subhuman species like stoner frat boys and junkyard dogs. And we are really disturbed that anyone in New Orleans, the amazing food capital of the universe, would choose to eat Domino's pizza when they could be dining on shrimp étouffée.

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