If you have Celiac disease or another serious gluten intolerance, you might want to avoid Papa John’s gluten-free pizza.
On Monday, Papa John’s announced it was rolling out a gluten-free crust made with sorghum, teff, amaranth, and quinoa at locations across the US.
However, the company said that it does not recommend the crust for people with a serious gluten intolerance.
“Operationally, Papa John’s employs procedures to prevent contact with gluten, and while the crust is prepared in a separate, gluten-free facility before being shipped to stores, it is possible that a pizza with gluten-free crust could be exposed to gluten during the in-store, pizza-making process,” the company said in a statement.
“Therefore, the brand does not recommend its Gluten-Free Crust made with Ancient Grains for customers with Celiac Disease or serious gluten intolerances.”
For a chain to make pizza that is actually safe for people who can’t eat gluten, it needs to isolate the gluten-free pies — not just swap the crust.
Pizza Hut, for example, keeps pizzas certifiably gluten-free by keeping ingredients in designated gluten-free kits. Employees preparing the pizzas wear gloves, bake the pizzas on parchment paper, and use a designated gluten-free pizza cutter.
Despite these efforts, Pizza Hut says on its website that it cannot guarantee that the environment where the pizza is prepared will remain 100% gluten free, and that customers should consult a medical advisor before ordering.
Domino’s similarly warns that its “gluten-free” pizzas may be exposed to gluten.
“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,” Domino’s website states.
It continues: “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.”