Pizza may well be the holy grail of gluten-free foods. At least, there are a whole lot of people looking for a gluten-free pizza that is A) safe and B) delicious.
After much hullabaloo within the US (see Domino’s and California Pizza Kitchen), it seems that three pizza-serving chains will be introducing gluten-free pizzas to the UK market within the coming days, if they have not already. But how gluten-free will they really be?
According to Coeliac UK’s press release from earlier this week, the three chains in question are Domino’s, Pizza Hut, and Prezzo. Here’s a breakdown of practices and standards according to each restaurant:
The Domino’s pizza will be accredited by Coeliac UK, and the press release carries two hopeful signs for those of us who aren’t just mildly intolerant of gluten. First, the release indicates that training will include ensuring staff, “understand the controls around handling gluten-free pizzas and ingredients.” The second is that the price is supposed to be the same as the price for a regular pie — which I suppose is good news for all of us! These pizzas will be “gluten-free accredited,” which seems to be a designation that, “is covered by the law and applies only to food which has 20 parts per million (ppm) or less of gluten.”
The designation here is “No Gluten Containing Ingredients.” According to Coeliac UK, this designation, “is not covered by the law and is for foods that are made with ingredients that don’t contain gluten and where cross contamination controls are in place. These foods will have very low levels of gluten but have not been tested to the same extent as those labelled gluten-free or very low gluten.”
Hearteningly, the release goes on to indicate that the dough will be separate from gluten-containing dough throughout it’s lifecycle, that all toppings have been reformulated to be gluten-free, and that separate sauces and utensils are being used for the GF pizzas. Staff are to be trained, and like Domino’s the pizzas are not to cost anything additional.
We don’t have this chain here in North America, but by the looks of their website Prezzo is a more traditional restaurant (waiter service, appetizers, etc). They’ve already got gluten-free crusts in place, for no additional charge (three makes a trend!) — although they also have this disclaimer on their allergen data sheet: Please take note that the risk of Cross-Contamination during preparation of the dish in the restaurant kitchen IS NOT taken into account on this data.
If you’re in the UK, please let us know if you try these pizzas! There are oodles of comments on Pizza Hut’s facebook page asking about cross-contamination practices, and we anticipate that more thorough explanations or disclaimers will go live once the pizzas actually launch, but in the meantime it seems like exciting news.