Seriously? Domino’s New “Gluten Free” Pizza Offering

Like everyone else, I was buzzing this morning about Domino’s entry into the gluten-free pizza market. At first I was so excited, and then I actually watched the full video and read the disclaimer.

All I can say is, “seriously?”

As in, I’m seriously not going to Domino’s for this pizza.

I was seriously excited until I saw the disclaimer (which, thankfully, they do tell you to read) which states in the video, “Since we’re honest people, here’s a disclaimer. Domino’s Pizza made with a Gluten Free Crust is prepared in a common kitchen with the risk of gluten exposure. The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness supports the availability of Domino’s Gluten Free Crust, but CANNOT recommend the pizza for customers with celiac disease. Customers with gluten sensitivities should exercise judgement in consuming this pizza.”

Seriously Domino’s? How can you say that it’s for gluten-sensitive when you are not preparing in a separate area with separate toppings, separate tools, etc. (at time of publication I do not know the status of same tools/ovens, etc.) Clearly it’s not for Celiac disease because the kitchen that you make it in is terrifying? This option seems like a low gluten option for people who just want to take gluten out of their diet, but let’s consider where it is made! A “common kitchen” seems a little too risky out of a chain. And I’m not sure what “low” levels of gluten are, but I’m pretty sure I don’t want any if possible.

Here’s a statement from their FAQ’s:

  • Gluten is present in Domino’s Hand Tossed Dough. 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. Due to the handcrafted nature of Domino’s products and because stores do not have a separate gluten free area in the kitchen, a possibility for gluten exposure can occur. As such, pizza made with Domino’s Gluten Free Crust is not recommended for customers with celiac disease. However, because the risk for exposure is low, this pizza made with Domino’s Gluten Free Crust is an option for individuals with mild gluten sensitivities.
  • Domino’s worked closely with the NFCA and recognizes that with our current operational model we cannot, beyond all doubt, provide the environment needed to assure those with celiac disease that the whole pizza is 100 percent gluten free. Domino’s does not want to set unrealistic expectations of how the Gluten Free Crust is handled in our stores. Domino’s would rather be honest and transparent about this product and avoid risking a customer ordering this product under false pretenses. Domino’s includes its Gluten Free Crust disclaimer in store, online, in all advertising and on all pizza boxes.

Let’s also seriously talk about the employees! When I go into a gluten-free-friendly restaurant, I like to talk to the server to assure that they are knowledgeable about my condition. If they don’t know what Celiac disease or gluten is – then I want a different server or want to talk to the manager. Am I going to get that same level of service at Domino’s? How am I assured that the teenager making my pizza isn’t cross-contaminating my pizza with anything – gluten ingredients, flour from other pizzas, a tool used in a gluten-full pizza, etc. I’d love to know what type of education these employees get about what gluten is, how to avoid cross-contamination, etc.

PS it’s a gluten-free crust, but what about the ingredients? Have those all been checked to make sure they don’t contain gluten? I want to know that too. Seriously.

It’s seriously bothersome to see things labeled as gluten-free with disclaimers like this, because so many people who are recently diagnosed or just don’t know any better will take those words without further checking. I hope hope hope that people do their due diligence. Hey, if you’re just doing a gluten-free diet because you feel healthier, skinnier, etc., whatever, then order away. But to have a medical condition, a product like this worries me. I have friends that just eat gluten-free when they can because they perceive it to be a healthier option or feel better afterwards, but then have a few beers – so clearly the gluten doesn’t make them sick. But for me, I’m seriously not eating this.

I’ll end this with a statement that honestly and seriously commends Domino’s for being the first-mover in the delivery service for gluten-free pizza from a massive chain. Hey – they are trying to adapt to this market, after all. Also, the video was made pretty well – it’s entertaining and kept my attention. I hope they learn from this experience and adapt kitchens to be more gluten-free-friendly, and change my mind about this pizza. I give them such kudos for being open and honest with their disclaimers and their FAQ section on their website. They really have all their bases covered for an introduction in this kind of market.

The video opens with “…you’re one of the millions of people who are gluten-sensitive who wish they could love pizza.” Oh, I do, but I will continue to love them on my own terms by visiting my local pizzerias and making sure their small company keeps my pizza safe.

Further information from USA Today, Domino’s FAQ website.

What do you think? Would you eat here?

Comments: 14

  1. Christopher May 7, 2012 at 9:11 am Reply

    I will give this one try. As someone who was diagnosed with Celiac almost two years ago, I am obviously always cautious of what I eat, but I find that a lot of establishments that offer warnings like this are erring on the side of caution, and a lot of places that offer “Celiac safe” menu options can be a little less effective than they are confident. I believe Dominos is at the very least taking a step in the right direction, and I applaud them. Clearly the next step is for them to perfect a worry-free pizza for those of us who can’t have gluten, but at least they’re taking a first step in the right direction.

    • Erica May 7, 2012 at 9:42 am Reply

      I agree, they’re going in the right direction, but I don’t think they’re there yet (especially when they say it’s not for celiacs) and I’m not sure they can handle the financial revamps of all their kitchen and employee education to make me feel safe enough to eat there. I feel more comfortable if I can talk to the person who is making my food – and with so many locations, I’m just not sure I trust every franchisee in the system to be so diligent about cleaning, contamination, etc. but I love your trust! I hope they continue doing great things in the GF marketplace that’s safe for everyone.

  2. Crone Silverhawk May 7, 2012 at 9:38 am Reply

    How can Dominos, any other “fast” pizza place assure me that there will not be any cross-contamination when even the toppings are not. Many times in the past before realizing I was gluten sensitive, I have ordered a pepperoni pizza and received other ingredients – although small – but one piece is one too many.

    • Erica May 7, 2012 at 9:40 am Reply

      HA! Good point! There’s too much stress on the “quick” part of fast food that I’m not sure I trust it! Speed doesn’t always mean quality and I want quality when my health is on the line!

  3. Alissa May 7, 2012 at 10:27 am Reply

    Erica, I agree with you 100%. While it is admirable that places like Domino’s are making themselves aware of Celiac and gluten intolerance, I think they are actually doing more harm than good, because less-informed people are going to think that it’s okay for Celiacs or people with severe (and sensitive) intolerances to eat it. I’m glad the issue is starting to see more play in the mainstream, but I’m also wary of the whole thing.

  4. Gluten Dude May 7, 2012 at 10:46 am Reply

    Awesome points Erica! I need to seriously look into this, as do all celiacs. But it looks like “A” for effort but “F” for execution.

  5. Jordan May 7, 2012 at 10:50 am Reply

    This is a good start, but they should really look into a separate kitchen in my opinion!

  6. Owen May 7, 2012 at 11:00 am Reply

    I think a disclaimer is smart, and I doubt they could ever 100 percent make their process safe enough to call it gluten free. It is up to us to gauge what restaurants are safe enough, and if we have celiac how can we really trust almost anyone? Unless its a 100 percent gluten free facility you always run the risk of cross contamination. I think people need to take ownership of the fact that they have a serious condition. Dominos is not down playing the danger – good for them. Now its up to you to know your own sensitivity.

    • Erica May 7, 2012 at 11:04 am Reply

      I do really appreciate their disclaimers and not downplaying the dangers of cross contamination, but I’ve met people that truly do not own their own sensitivities – they think anything that’s labeled gluten-free or “no gluten ingredients” is totally safe and they never follow up with how it’s made. Then again, I’ve also met people who were regularly drinking beer who didn’t know it had gluten in it…so, all I’m saying is that people are gullible, and if they see “gluten free” but don’t read the disclaimer that it’s not for celiacs and it contains “low” gluten, then that bums me out. And yes, I feel like I’ve become the most skeptical consumer now that I’m a Celiac :/

      • Owen May 7, 2012 at 11:42 am Reply

        I guess a broader question would be, Do you trust a restaurant who is primarily full of Gluten items, if they carry a gluten free variation – especially if the menu and/or wait staff make no mention of the risk? What I see here is a business that is entering a new territory and trying to do it safely for their own protection but also for those who eat there. Even if they added completely different ovens and cooktops – could they guarantee that an employee would change gloves properly – or that a spec of flour from one part of the store would not make it over to the gluten free section? They really couldn’t.

        • Erica May 7, 2012 at 11:48 am Reply

          I am certainly more apt to trust a smaller restaurant or chain that takes pride in training their employees, and I’m not sure that Domino’s has that capabilities with franchisees, etc. I also don’t eat at restaurants that are chalk-full of flour particles floating around in the air like this. I think I try to be more choosy when it comes to where I eat. But no one can assure anything, so you’re right in that aspect, but I wouldn’t let Domino’s off the hook so easily.

  7. Michelle @ Spinning Spoons May 7, 2012 at 12:21 pm Reply

    I agree with this! It took me a long time to learn what was safe and what wasn’t (plus, thinking for 2 years that I didn’t have Celiac Disease because of a hack naturopath – I wasn’t being as safe as I should have been!). I went a little rant-y today because I think this whole situation is problematic: That being said, at least there is a disclaimer.

    You wouldn’t label anything with trace amounts of peanut as “peanut free”, so how can you label something coated in gluten as “gluten free”?

  8. Jennifer May 7, 2012 at 7:15 pm Reply

    Oh hell NO.

    I’ll stick to Zpizza!

    Honestly, I feel like this move is catering to the fad dieters, not to people who would truly benefit from the normalcy of ordering a pizza that won’t make us sick.

    Dominos sucked even before I went vegan. Now that I know I have celiac, I’ve got no interest in anything from their.

  9. Jennifer May 7, 2012 at 7:16 pm Reply

    There! There! Darn typos.

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