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When news broke that Papa John’s was introducing a new gluten-free pizza, many in the GF community got excited – until they saw that Papa John’s did not recommend the pizza for people with celiac disease or severe gluten intolerance.
Emotions were mixed – on the one hand, why make a gluten-free pizza if people who need to live gluten-free can’t eat it? On the other hand, we appreciate their transparency with consumers instead of inadvertently getting folks sick.
We are a naturally curious bunch at Nima – after seeing the headlines, we wanted to know, was Papa John’s just being overly cautious to cover their bases, or were they really not taking any precautions to reduce cross-contamination. It was time we put it to the Nima test.
Papa John’s gluten-free pizza gets #nimatested
We ordered two gluten-free pizzas off the Papa John’s website for carryout: one gluten-free cheese pizza and one with “the works.” On the GF pizza page, Papa John’s explicitly states that they do not recommend the gluten-free pizza for celiacs (bolded just to emphasize their claims).
Knowing that, we placed the order, picked it up and came back to the office for testing.
We tested the pizzas live on our Facebook page. Watch if you want to hear more about our experience from CEO Shireen Yates and Nima communications lead Heather.
Unfortunately, Papa John’s gluten-free pizza was not gluten-free, as suspected. We tested some of the crust and toppings along the cut marks (in case shared pizza cutters were used). We’ve also found that a lot of gluten contamination with pizza happens in the toppings, so you don’t want to test just the outer crust.
Here’s the cheese gluten-free pizza, which had detectable gluten present.
Here’s the works gluten-free pizza – also gluten detected.
Overall, not shocking, but still disappointed. We wish Papa John’s gluten-free pizza was truly made gluten-free, but at least we know for sure that the severely intolerant shouldn’t risk it. Of course, every location and pizza can be different, so we recommend testing your own dishes, but we were glad Nima took the first bite of these pies.