If you are gluten intolerant or have celiac disease, don't bother trying Papa John's new gluten-free pizza.
Although the new pizza crust is made with sorghum, teff, amaranth and quinoa, and is also produced in a separate facility than the rest of its pizzas, CNBC reports, Papa John's warned that those with celiac disease or a serious gluten intolerance shouldn't purchase the gluten-free crust. The company said "it is possible that a pizza with Papa John's Ancient Grains Gluten-Free Crust is exposed to gluten during the ordinary preparation process," in a statement to CNBC. The statement advised customers "use your best judgment" when ordering the new menu item.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder. If someone with the disease eats something that contains gluten, (which is a protein found in grains like wheat, rye, and barely), it could potentially damage that person's small intestine. About one in 100 people worldwide have celiac disease, according to The Celiac Disease Foundation.
Gluten-free foods have become more popular in recent years, with food sales growing 178% between 2013 and 2016, according to CNBC. And many fast-food chains — like Chick-fil-A and Shake Shack, for instance — have started offering their customers gluten-free options to meet the uptick in demand.
But according to Nikki Ostrower, owner of NAO Nutrition, Papa John's attempt to"get in on the craze" appears to be "inauthentic."
"Anytime a company advertises that a product is gluten-free then anyone who has celiac or gluten intolerance should be able to enjoy it," she told CNBC. "It sounds like Papa Johns is trying to get in on the gluten-free craze in an inauthentic way."