Monday, April 12, 2010

Is GF Pizza at a Regular Pizza Joint Safe?


Gluten free pizza is starting to pop up everywhere. Even regular pizza places are getting into the game. But I wonder, are they practicing good food allergen/cross contamination practices?

Pizza Fusion was my first place to have a gluten free pizza in a restaurant in over three years. I had a good experience but when my dad visited the restaurant on two separate occasions he got sick. After some asking it was determined the gluten free pizzas were baked in the same oven as the glutinous pizzas.

In a recent post by Triumph Dining, Mellow Mushroom has now started testing a gluten free crust. Before I was diagnosed with Celiac I had a good 21 years of enjoying regular pizza including many occasions at Mellow Mushroom (one of the few cool places in the Atlanta suburbs when you’re a teenager). While my memories of Mellow include warm, fuzzy thoughts of delicious, garlicy pretzels and cheesy pizza with thick cornmeal dusted on the bottom; I also remember the array of flour tossing and pizza making within the restaurant. While it makes me excited to see such a large company testing gluten free crusts, it also concerns me of whether they can truly control the cross-contamination issues.   

What do you guys think? 


  1. Cross contamination is the biggest concern in dining out — GF ingredients are relatively easy to come by, but don't make any difference if your dish is not being prepared correctly.

    Personally, I haven't had a problem at Pizza Fusion or Garlic Jim's and to be honest, I can see the potential for problems in both. Garlic Jim's has gone one step further and started using corn flour on the surfaces which does help minimize the risk of contamination, but by no means eliminates it.

    One chain in particular that I like is Z Pizza, they do their GF pizzas in a pan to really cut down the possibility of contamination — this goes a long way in easing my anxiety when eating out. My only complaint with them would be that they only offer the GF pizza in the small size — this is great if you're eating by yourself, but not so great if there are numerous people looking for GF options.

  2. We haven't had a problem with Chicago Uno or Passport. I know Uno uses a frozen crust in it's own dish. I believe Passport is the same way.

    We have also eaten at Buddies in the Detroit area without problems also.

  3. I agree. It's still very scary to dine out, even when restaurants say 'gluten-free.' I, too, had many college memories at the Mellow Mushroom in Charlottesville, VA, enjoying those AMAZING pretzels and that delicious parmesan crust.

    I talked with the Mellow Mushroom folks at the GA Organics conference and it sounds like they're taking a lot of precautions to make sure they do it right. (They were initially going to launch the crust awhile ago, but slowed down the process because they realized it was going to be trickier than they thought.)

    Let me know if you try it!