How come nothing is ever easy in the celiac world??
Domino’s makes an announcement that they are now offering a gluten-free crust and the whole world goes to hell.
I thought my Tweet Deck was going to explode yesterday, with opinions coming fast and furious. And boy, did people have strong opinions. There was quite a nice battle going on last night with a few specific parties, who shall remain nameless. I love the passion, but I kept myself out of the loop to give myself some time to mull it over and not react without at least too much emotion.
Here is a quick recap of the situation: Domino’s announced yesterday, with a full disclaimer, it will be the first national pizza delivery chain to offer gluten-free crust to its consumers. Domino’s partnered with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness to make sure its gluten-free pizza met the criteria for the foundation’s “GREAT Kitchens Amber Designation.” This means the ingredients have been verified and managers and staff have been trained on the basics, but kitchen practices may vary with this designation, so “those with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity should ask questions and exercise judgment when dining at an establishment with an Amber Designation.”
In other words, celiacs shouldn’t eat it. Flour flying. Cross-contamination. Toppings with gluten. It’s a celiac’s nightmare.
So the question becomes “Why did Domino’s make a gluten-free crust and promote the hell out of it when it can sicken the people who truly need it?”
Look…I’ve always said that celiacs don’t own “gluten free” and companies can do whatever they wish. They are in business to make money. Period. I don’t know of one single company that puts their customers over their bottom line. It’s always about the profits. Which may explain why the gluten-free option is an extra $3.
So do I think Domino’s offered a gluten-free option to truly help those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity? Of course not. That would make them…human.
(What’s that? Corporations are people?? Now I’m really confused.)
And if Domino’s gave one hoot about celiacs, they would have made it safe for us.
But I’ve got news for you folks. They don’t have to. They make the pizza. We make the choice to eat it or not.
And if one celiac eats it, they are crazy!
But there are things that trouble me.
For example, why did the NFCA get involved in this if the pizza wasn’t going to be safe for celiacs? They actually emailed me directly yesterday and said (in bold no less) that “Domino’s and the NFCA do not recommend it for those with celiac disease”.
Ok…that’s cool. They are there to protect us.
But then they finished the email with this: We know you are an important blogger and advocate in the celiac community, so we hope you can help us spread the word about Domino’s Gluten Free Crust and the steps they’re taking to be more transparent.
What are they asking me to promote? That Domino’s is not really gluten free??
Again, I just don’t quite understand.
And then there is this little nugget: On Twitter yesterday, Domino’s directly marketed to many celebrities over and over. Here’s a sample Tweet:
@GwynethPaltrow Domino’s introduced a Gluten Free Crust today. Check here & see if it’s right for you.
So at the end of the day, Domino’s is simply jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon.
Do I hate it? Yes.
Do I think it hurts our cause? Yes.
Have I said this 100 times before? Unfortunately, yes.
Can I blame them? Not really.
But I do have one direct message to Domino’s: Be careful what you wish for.
You may have added a full disclaimer, which must have made your legal team do cartwheels in the hallways. But it doesn’t mean your message won’t get lost in translation. And this could lead to many, many people getting sick.
Note the following tweet from Liz Szabo:
“Domino’s to offer gluten-free crust, jumping into $6.2 BILLION marketplace for celiac disease patients.”
Note that she said the pizza is for celiac disease patients.
No. No. No, no, no, no no.
The pizza is not meant for celiacs. At least not for celiacs who want to survive.
Now, who is Liz Szabo you say? Is she just a misinformed tweeter? A lonely person with an opinion? A mere speck in the Twitter-verse?
Nope. She reports on medical news for USA Today and she has over 15,000 followers.
Yep…you read that right. She reports on MEDICAL NEWS for a newspaper that has the widest circulation of any paper in the United States.
And now 15,000 people, 150 of whom have celiac disease, will think Dominos is safe to eat.
And therein lies the problem.
Like I said…it’s never easy.