Don’t be too trusting…

Beware the Pizza….

Once again, I have been taught that even doing our best to research products and cross-contamination precautions will not always guarantee “clean” food. When my husband recently told me that Mama Mia’s pizzeria in town had gluten-free crusts available I was excited. Being the skeptic, I e-mailed the owner and asked what procedures were taken to prevent cross-contamination.

The owner responded quickly to say that a separate area was used to prepare the pizza, it was cooked on a separate aluminum tray so as not to touch the oven bottom (where pizzas are placed) and that a separate cutting utensil was used for all GF pizzas. Of course, it’s a pizzeria so there is flour in the room, he said, but every precaution was taken. He also said that the crust was ordered from a GF outside source. Then I checked the website, here, which states that precautions are taken.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? I did what every diligent GF eater should do…go right to the top and ask questions. I ordered a pizza, feeling confident that precautions were taken and I would soon be feasting on a GF mushroom pizza.

I arrived to find that my pizza was not ready. I waited, watching the pizza cook shift pizzas in the oven on three levels, using the same cutting utensil for all of them. I finally witnessed my pizza come out of the oven…sans any aluminum tray…and plopped into a box. He then quickly grabbed the same pizza cutter he had used on about 8 other pizzas and sliced it in 2 seconds.

Yes, I protested. “What are you doing?” I asked. “You just contaminated the pizza.”

“I did what?” he asked, completely clueless. When I explained to him, and someone who seemed to be the night manager, that a separate utensil was supposed to be provided, they both looked at me as if I had horns. They were given no instructions on doing anything different with these pizzas. The pizza cook then grabbed another one after I said I didn’t want the first one and tossed it into the oven, once again without any separate pan.

I finally explained that I wanted my money back and did not want any pizza. I told them they needed to talk with the owner and get educated on what they were supposed to do, and that they shouldn’t be selling it until they do.

I was sorely in the mood for pizza and went home and made a GF Creations pizza in my own oven. Yes, it was good and I knew it was safe.

Bottom line…unless you make it yourself, you just can’t be sure. And even after doing everything to ensure we are safe, there is no guarantee. I will still eat at restaurants and take my chances, but I won’t stop checking and double checking. I suggest you do the same.

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5 Comments

Filed under cross contamination, gluten free, pizza

5 responses to “Don’t be too trusting…

  1. What a bummer — it sounded so promising when you talked with the owner. But I'm glad you caught the problem before you ate the pizza.Sigh….

  2. I know, that's what made it so disappointing. But I'm so glad I got there early. Live and learn!

  3. It's unfortunate that the owner took such diligence in responding to you but either didn't train the employees or the employees didn't understand the importance of the training they were given.Now that food allergies/sensitivities/food choices are much more prevalent it's more common for customers to make special requests. Most restaurants make the accommodations. But when you advertise that you are allergen-safe but you're not then that's false advertising and while it's always caveat emptor, thinking you might end up in the ER or dealing with intestinal problems for days shouldn't be the norm.

  4. You need to get naked! Coming soon to Ahwatukee. Watch for details!http://www.vimeo.com/17309906

  5. Wow, can you make one for me??? Can't wait for Ahwatukee, I'll be the first in line! Thanks.

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