Published May 18, 2012
Can pizza be “gluten-free,” yet maybe still contain some gluten?
That’s the controversy Domino’s Pizza sparked last week when it launched a new “gluten-free crust” pizza — but said it was designed for people with mild gluten sensitivity, not those with celiac disease who must avoid even minute quantities, The Wall Street Journal reported. While the crust was made without gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley, Domino’s said it couldn’t guarantee that each handmade pizza would be completely gluten-free.
So Thursday, the North American Society for the Study of Celiac Disease, or NASSCD, a year-old organization of physicians and scientists, called Domino’s announcement — widely touted on Twitter and elsewhere– “a complete exploitation” of the term.
“Our position is that a product is either gluten free or it is not,” NASSCD president Stefano Guandalini said in a statement calling for the standardization of gluten-free labeling by the food industry. “Marketing a product to be ‘sort-of’ gluten free or ‘low’ gluten is completely useless for those who require the strict diet.”
Sales of so-called “gluten-free” foods in grocery stores are expected to reach $2.5 billion this year, but there is still no federal standard for the term.
Scientists and the Food and Drug Administration have proposed a cutoff of 20 parts per million, but the FDA has yet to issue a final rule.