|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.