Wednesday, April 15, 2009

On my last visit to Toronto, I was excited to hear that Pizza Nova had started to offer a gluten-free crust. However, when I went to order, I found cause for concern. Pizza Nova provides a PDF document on its website to alert customers to allergens in their pizza toppings and other food products; it’s a pretty comprehensive list, covering peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, milk products, eggs, fish, seafood, soy, sulphites, wheat, and gluten (wheat and gluten are listed as separate categories on the chart). Each ingredient is rated from zero to 3; zero means that the allergen is not present, 1 means that the allergen was present in the factory, 2 means that the allergen was used on the same production line, and 3 means that the allergen is present in the product.

What I noticed on the chart is that there are discrepancies in the ratings for the wheat and gluten categories. Pepperoni is rated 1 for wheat content but zero for gluten, as is the sautéed spinach and the ketchup. The chicken wings and the Hellman’s blue cheese dip get a 2 for wheat, and zero for gluten. The veal cutlets get a 3 for wheat — meaning that they absolutely do contain wheat — and a zero for gluten. By definition, if a product contains wheat, it contains gluten (though the reverse is not true, since a product could contain gluten — say, in the form of barley malt — and yet contain no wheat).

In the end, I was worried about the information that didn’t add up, and I decided to order from Pizza Pizza instead. Has anyone ordered a gluten-free pizza from Pizza Nova? I've just blogged about this on the Gluten-Free Guidebook, if you'd like to read more.


Anonymous said...

pizza nova's regular pizza rocks but the gluten free crust is horrible. We stuck to ingredients that we know should logically be safe like chicken and sun dried tomato. This seemed to be okay

I would rathergo with pizza pizzafor delivery though because of accurate allergen info and superior crust. We föhn the secret was to order extra thick crust

SeekerSue said...

I totally disagree with the previous post. I loved the gf Pizza Nova crust, and really don't like the cardboard Pizza Pizza crust.

Big Mamma's Boy still has the best pizza I've had in Toronto though, if you live close enough to their relatively small delivery area.

Anonymous said...

I noticed the same discrencies in Pizza Nova's allergens listing and phoned them about it. The woman I spoke to was really clueless and tried to explain to me that some items have wheat and others had gluten! I wouldn't trust them to make a gluten free pizza.

Anonymous said...

PS. oops..make that "discrepancies". :-)

Anonymous said...

can you believe that the same company makes both the Pizza Pizza and Pizza Nova GF pizza crusts!? it's true. they are make at a GF bakery in Toronto. we were told by an employee that they make the crusts to specifications requested by each company. pizza pizza crusts are delivered to them frozen, while the pizza nova crusts are individually vac-packed. the companies decide what type of crust to sell (ie- pizza pizza is "plain" while the pizza nova is multi-grain). so ... the crusts are definitely GF, but I guess it is up to each individual location to ensure that there is not cross-contamination with all the wheat-flour flying around the prep-area of the kitchen. I know they bake them in their own GF dedicated pans (not directly on the oven like the regular ones).