Digiorno Gluten-Free Pizza Celiac-Safe? It has Wheat Starch!

Is Digiorno Gluten-Free Pizza celiac-safe? A lot of people wonder this when they look at the ingredients of Digiornos gluten-free pizza and see wheat starch listed. How can a gluten-free food contain wheat, when wheat contains gluten?!

Let’s talk about it! How can Digiorno Gluten-Free Pizza be celiac-safe if it has wheat starch?

P.s. Need help with label-reading and knowing if products like this are gluten-free? Sign up for my FREE USA Food Label-Reading Class where I show you EXACTLY what you need to look for on a food label to stay celiac-safe in the USA. Stop stressing over grocery shopping in just 4-simple steps with this FREE training!

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Is Digiorno Gluten-Free Pizza Celiac-Safe? It has Wheat Starch!

Understanding Celiac and Gluten

Before we get into if Digiorno Gluten-free Pizza is celiac-safe, we need to understand the relationship between gluten and celiac. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease triggered by gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Thus, a celiac diet typically is a diet free from those three grains.

So how can a gluten-free pizza have wheat starch in it and still be celiac-safe?

Remember, celiacs react to the protein gluten found in wheat. Starch is a carb, not a protein. So if the starch or sugars in wheat have been processed enough, it will not trigger a reaction because there should be minimal if any gluten left behind.

So is Digiorno Gluten-Free Pizza Safe?

The short answer is yes, Digiorno gluten-free pizza is generally safe for people with celiac disease. However, there are many other gluten-free frozen pizzas on the market that aren’t made with wheat starch so if it makes you feel uncomfortable, you can buy other options.

That said, again, this pizza is perfectly safe. It meets FDA gluten-free requirements and is by all accounts, gluten-free per <20ppm standards.

But if that’s true… how can it contain wheat? Let’s talk about it…

Digiorno Gluten-free Pizza Meets USA Labeling Laws

Contrary to popular belief, Digiorno Gluten-free Pizza is legally allowed to mark it’s product as gluten-free in the USA. The FDA recognized that gluten derivatives can be safe for celiacs.

That’s because celiacs have a generally tolerable exposure threshold of <20ppm (this is based on research). So the FDA allows food products to list themselves as gluten-free as long as they have <20ppm of gluten in them.

And the FDA specifies, you may use gluten derived ingredients, like wheat starch, in gluten-free labeled products as long as they are testing to <20ppm of gluten.

That’s because again, gluten-free means no gluten proteins. Starches aren’t proteins, they are carbs. So technically the starches from gluten grains, like wheat starch, are gluten-free as long as they’ve been processed enough. The caveat here is that wheat starch is only considered gluten-free if the product has been marked gluten-free.

And in this case, the wheat starch has been processed to be gluten-free before being added to this product. You can see on the label in the photo above that Digiorno signifies that the “wheat has been processed to allow this food to meet the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements for gluten-free foods”.

Thus, this pizza is gluten-free and totally safe for more people with celiac.

Where This Gets Tricky

When it comes to celiac disease, food products with wheat starch that have been tested and confirmed to <20ppm are celiac-safe. This includes Digiorno Gluten-free Pizza.

However, some people with celiac also have a wheat allergy. And some people might be shopping gluten-free because of a wheat allergy.

And when it comes to a wheat allergy, there is no generally safe threshold of exposure. So in this case, the product may be questionably safe depending on the person.

Additionally, some people with celiac may also have a wheat intolerance (not to be confused with gluten intolerance). This can cause a reaction in these populations too. Thus, if someone is sensitive to wheat they should avoid this pizza as well.

Ultimately: Digiorno Gluten-Free Pizza is Celiac-Safe

Ultimately, Digiorno Gluten-free Pizza is celiac-safe. It has wheat starch, a carb derived from wheat, not the proteins. Thus, it should not trigger a celiac reaction. However, given the large range of needs in the celiac population, from additional food sensitivities to food allergies, it may not be suitable for everyone.

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P.s. Found this blog post interesting? I break down the Haribo Gummy Bear label which feature sugar from wheat that you might find interesting too. Read that blog post here.

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