Alexandra’s “Gluten-Free” Pizza Not Safe for Celiacs

A few weeks ago, local pizza chain Alexandra’s joined Twitter (and followed our blog). I got extremely excited about their first tweet:

 

Tweet from Alexandra's Pizza about gluten-free crust

I immediately tweeted at them asking for more information. They put me in touch with their marketing consultant, who has family members with Celiac and who seemed to really understand my concerns about gluten-containing ingredients and cross-contamination. Her first e-mail gave some information, including the fact that the dough is made off-site to reduce the chance of cross-contamination.

But then something weird happened. I replied to her asking for more information (and re-sent the e-mail a week later) and she has still not responded. Even worse, the Alexandra’s Pizza website now contains a page about their gluten-free crust with this statement:

“Our medium pizza is now available with a Gluten Free crust. However, no guarantee can be given that the pizza has not come into contact with flour or products containing flour or gluten and therefore is not recommended for those following a Gluten Free diet for the protection of their health.”

I appreciate them being honest about this, but it’s still very disappointing. Pretty much all of the restaurants I eat at are not 100% gluten-free, but as long as they take reasonable precautions (as I do in my own kitchen), there is no reason to issue a blanket statement shooing Celiacs and those with gluten sensitivity towards the door.

If you are looking for gluten-free pizza in the HRM area, here are a few places that do serve Celiacs.

Advertisements

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  1. #1 by Dave on July 30, 2014 - 12:29 pm

    Hmmmm. Unfortunate. Thanks very much for letting us know 🙂

    I just want to take issue with one thing at the end of your post though, where you say “there is no reason to issue a blanket statement shooing Celiacs and those with gluten sensitivity towards the door.” Perhaps I’m mis-reading your intention there, but surely if they’re saying their food is not prepared safely, there is EVERY reason to issue such a blanket statement, no? 🙂

  2. #2 by Dave on July 30, 2014 - 12:32 pm

    Oh, wait, I see what you’re getting at–sorry, I somehow missed reading a paragraph…lol. I guess the key question is, just how safe is it? If they make the dough offsite and take other precautions, but don’t do 100% of what’s required to safeguard the pizza that’s given to customers (maybe use the same pans, oven floors, etc), then the blanket statement is definitely needed. If, however, they’re taking every possible precaution, but just need to make it clear that “in life there are no 100% guarantees”, then yes, the statement is an overreaction. I think we need more clarification from them as to what exactly makes their pizza “not recommended for celiacs”.

    • #3 by glutenfree4hfx on July 30, 2014 - 3:34 pm

      Hi Dave! That’s the question that I couldn’t get an answer to (what the exact precautions are), and so I have to go by what’s on their website even though it’s contrary to what I was told by their marketing consultant. I know other pizza places that have that warning use shared condiments and preparation surfaces, but I have no idea if that’s the same case here. As well, it’s a franchise, so things could differ by location. Personally I’d rather be safe than sorry!

      • #4 by Dave on July 30, 2014 - 4:07 pm

        “Better safe than sorry”–words to live by, for sure! If you don’t mind, maybe I’ll try to get them to cough up a more precise answer too.

      • #5 by glutenfree4hfx on July 30, 2014 - 4:39 pm

        That would be great! 🙂 Also, I have heard from other Celiacs who have tried it without getting sick.

  3. #6 by weddingconfDAnielle on July 30, 2014 - 1:10 pm

    I hate when restaurants do this. They offer Gluten-free as a fad, yet don’t bother following through with safety practices and they are really very simple.
    If a restaurant gives one of these warnings, then I take them at their word. For Mother’s Day I booked at a restaurant offering a full gluten-free menu. After we ordered (and I put the waitress through the wringer about how they would prepare my daughter’s food), I noticed the disclaimer at the bottom of the menu, stating it was appropriate for gluten-reduced diets, not celiacs. Oh boy did I get sick! Luckily my daughter did not (I think the difference was she had no contaminated butter). Such a simple thing to have separate utensils and seperate condiments to make sure your customers are safe. It really bothers me when places offer gluten-free and then don’t do simple things to safeguard their customers.

    • #7 by glutenfree4hfx on July 30, 2014 - 3:33 pm

      I totally agree. It’s great to be honest, and I understand that contamination can occur in restaurants, but if they are offering gluten-free options then they should be doing everything they can to make the food safe for everyone.

      • #8 by FYI on August 3, 2014 - 4:39 am

        You are right, it is a chain. There are multiple owners. So, no, you can not guarantee cross the board that there is 100% consistency. Any restaurant that serves items that are not gluten free can not make the claim to be safe for celiacs. There are pizza toppings that are made with wheat or gluten. It’s a matter of what precautions can be taken and what can’t. The pizza is cooked in the same oven as other pizzas that are not gluten free.
        Bottom line, for legality purposes the obvious has to be stated. The best thing to do is talk to the store owner of the store you wish to order from and decide for yourself.

      • #9 by glutenfree4hfx on August 3, 2014 - 9:22 am

        Absolutely, well said! However, I find that blanket statements about food being categorically unsafe for those with allergies/intolerances is going a bit far and essentially says they’re not willing to try. I do understand the legality but it certainly would scare some people away.

  4. #10 by FYI on August 3, 2014 - 4:42 am

    I know 2 celiacs that got sick from eating at Boston Pizza.

  5. #11 by Tony on September 25, 2014 - 6:24 am

    Just so you know there is a dedicated Gluten Free Bakery & Cafe in Halifax NS. We are called Odell’s Gluten Free Bakery & Cafe. We also create Pizzas 12″ & 16″ but the difference here is we are 100% Gluten Free.

    • #12 by glutenfree4hfx on September 25, 2014 - 8:19 am

      We love your products! Thanks for reminding us that you do pizzas. Your donair is on my to-try list also 🙂

      • #13 by Tony on September 25, 2014 - 8:34 am

        We are told our donairs are some of the best in Halifax and a bonus there Gluten Free 🙂

      • #14 by glutenfree4hfx on September 25, 2014 - 8:50 am

        I’ve heard awesome things! Your cafe is one of the few reasons I wish I worked downtown 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: