Are Gluten-Free Pizzas Really Gluten-Free?

Authored by:  Ryan Alvarez-Cohen
Published on:  2015 August 17

An increasing number of pizza chain restaurants are responding to the gluten-free trend by offering pizza made with G-F crusts. However, starting with a G-F crust doesn’t necessarily result in a G-F pizza. The reason is that pizza restaurant kitchens are gluten-intensive zones – gluten is often on surfaces and utensils, and can even be in the air as well. Consequently, there are many opportunities for G-F crust to come in cross-contact with gluten during the pizza preparation process.

So FTN is conducting ongoing pizza tests to determine the extent to which popular restaurants offer pizza that is truly G-F. For our first assessment, we tested the G-F pizza from three chains: Dominos Pizza, Extreme Pizza, and Pizza Hut. For each of these restaurants we start our evaluation by testing pizzas from at least two locations of each of those three chains. We took samples from three different spots of each pizza. The results are listed on the FTN pizza page. Here is a summary.


Dominos_Positive_150624.jpegDominos Pizza: We tested a Dominos G-F cheese pizza from two different restaurant locations to 5 PPM of gluten. Dominos doesn’t guarantee that its G-F pizzas are certified gluten-free, and sure enough, one of the pizzas tested positive for gluten, while the other was negative. These tests show that cross-contact is present, however, it is not always at levels that would disqualify the pizza as non G-F (over 20 PPM).





Extreme_Positive_150625.jpegExtreme Pizza: We tested the gluten free pizzas from two Extreme Pizza locations to both 5 and 20 PPM of gluten. From one of the locations, the results were negative to 5 and 20 PPM, while the other had results that were positive to both 5 and 20 ppm. Accordingly, cross contact is sometimes present, even at levels high enough to disqualify the pizza as G-F (20 PPM).





Pizza_Hut_Hwy_50_150808.JPGPizza Hut: Pizza Hut claims on the company’s website that its G-F pizza is certified gluten free because they make an effort to eliminate any cross contact. We tested this pizza at three different locations to 5 PPM and the results were all negative - no gluten was detected. As of this series of tests, Pizza Hut seems to be the only big pizza chain that offers G-F pizza – that consistently meets the standard for gluten-free. 


Check-out these other FTN articles:

Best Bunless Burger (tm)

Visualize 20 PPM:  What does 20 PPM Look Like?

Trace Ingredients:  Can You Find the Gluten Trace Ingredients?

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