Shortly after Domino’s Pizza (NYSE:DPZ), announced its entrance into the $6.2 billion gluten-free market, the nation’s largest pizza chain’s gluten-free crust is under fire.
Dr. Stefano Guandalini from The North American Society for the Study of Celiac Disease, said in a statement that Domino’s use of the term gluten-free is “a total disservice” to those most sensitive to gluten.
The controversy is over the pizza joint’s disclaimer on its website regarding the gluten-free label it attributes to its new crust. Since the crust is prepared in close proximity to items with gluten, people with celiac disease could get sick from eating it.
“A product is either gluten-free or it is not,” Guandalini told Nation’s Restaurant News. “There should be no need for disclaimers. “The threshold has to be set at the same level for everybody for the term ‘gluten free’ to be meaningful.”
Tim McIntyre, a spokesman for Domino’s, told NRN the company has been honest about the fact that people with celiac disease should not eat the gluten-free crust. “We understand and appreciate the disappointment of those with the disease, but we wanted to be honest and transparent.”
Guandalini used CEC Entertainment‘s (NYSE:CEC) Chuck E. Cheese’s as an example of a company that is correctly using the term gluten-free. The company last week announced its intentions to offer gluten-free cupcakes and pizza choices in some of its restaurants. Unlike Domino’s, CEC’s gluten-free menu items will be manufactured in a gluten-free facility.
“What CEC is doing is clean and rigorous,” he said. “They are in compliance with the way the scientific community would think about it.”