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.
So let’s talk about it! How can Digiorno Gluten-Free Pizza be celiac-safe if it has wheat starch?
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 there is just wheat starch in the product, it will not trigger a reaction.
The FDA recognized that gluten derivatives can be safe for celiacs. That’s because celiacs have a generally tolerable exposure threshold of 20ppm.
Which is 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.
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, while wheat starch is gluten-free, it is high in fructans. Fructans are what is known as a FODMAP, and for some can trigger very uncomfortable symptoms that can mimic gluten exposure but without the celiac reaction.
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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