Is Quest Supreme pizza gluten free?

Gluten free diets have become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more people choosing to avoid gluten for medical reasons or simply as a lifestyle choice. For those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, sticking to a strict gluten free diet is essential. But for many others, going gluten free may provide benefits like reduced inflammation, improved gut health, and more. With the rising popularity of gluten free eating, many restaurants and food companies have started offering more gluten free options to meet this growing demand. Pizza lovers rejoice – you can still enjoy delicious pizza even on a gluten free diet! But with so many pizza places out there, how do you know which ones offer truly gluten free crusts and toppings? One popular pizza chain that markets some of its pizzas as gluten free is Quest Pizza. In this article, we’ll take a close look at Quest Pizza’s ingredients and production process to help you determine if Quest Pizza is gluten free and a safe option for those with celiac disease or on a gluten free diet.

What is Quest Pizza?

Quest Pizza is a company that makes frozen pizzas, pizza crusts, and other pizza products. They market some of their pizzas and crusts as “gluten free.” Quest Pizza was originally launched in 2016 by the company Quest Nutrition, known for making protein bars and shakes. The goal with Quest Pizza was to create healthy pizza options with more protein and fiber, less carbs and sugar, and a gluten free crust option. Quest Pizza makes thin crust pizzas in a variety of flavors like cheese, pepperoni, supreme, and more. They use a gluten free crust made with rice flour, tapioca starch, yeast, xanthan gum, eggs, and seasonings. Quest pizzas are currently available in select grocery stores like Sprouts, Safeway, Whole Foods, and Kroger. They’re also available online directly through Quest Pizza’s website for home delivery.

What ingredients are in Quest Supreme Pizza?

Quest Supreme Pizza is one of the more popular flavors of Quest Pizza. The Quest Supreme Pizza is topped with mozzarella, pork sausage, pepperoni, green bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms. Here is the full ingredient list for a Quest Supreme Pizza according to the company’s website:

Crust Ingredients:

  • Water
  • Rice Flour
  • Mozzarella Cheese (pasteurized part skim milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes)
  • Tapioca Starch
  • Canola Oil
  • Yeast
  • Xanthan Gum
  • Salt
  • Baking Powder
  • Eggs
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Marjoram

Topping Ingredients:

  • Low Moisture Part Skim Mozzarella Cheese (pasteurized part-skim milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes)
  • Pork Sausage (pork, water, salt, spices, dextrose, caramel color)
  • Pepperoni (pork and beef, salt, contains 2% or less of water, dextrose, natural spices, oleoresin of paprika, lactic acid starter culture, garlic powder, sodium nitrite, BHA, BHT, citric acid)
  • Green Bell Peppers
  • Onions
  • Mushrooms

Are the ingredients in Quest Supreme Pizza gluten-free?

Based on the ingredient list, most of the main ingredients in a Quest Supreme Pizza appear to be gluten-free. The crust is made with gluten-free grains and starches like rice flour, tapioca starch, and eggs. It does not contain any wheat-based flours which are major sources of gluten. The meat toppings like pork sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, and bell peppers are naturally gluten-free as well. The cheeses used on Quest pizzas are regular mozzarella cheeses rather than specialty gluten-free cheeses, but regular mozzarella is generally considered gluten-free.

However, there are a few ingredients in the Quest Supreme Pizza that may raise concerns for those with celiac disease or on a gluten-free diet:

  • Yeast – The type of yeast used is not specified. Some yeast contains gluten, while other yeast may be gluten-free. So the yeast could be a source of gluten.
  • Shared Equipment – Even if ingredients are gluten-free, cross-contamination can occur during manufacturing if shared equipment is used.
  • Xanthan Gum – This ingredient is gluten-free but sometimes contains gluten cross-contamination.

So while Quest does seem to use mostly gluten-free ingredients in their gluten-free crust and toppings, there are some risks of gluten exposure from ingredients like yeast and xanthan gum as well as potential cross-contamination during manufacturing. Individual tolerance levels vary among those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. Some may be fine with these small risks while others could react.

Does Quest take steps to avoid cross-contamination?

In addition to using gluten-free ingredients, companies need robust procedures to avoid cross-contamination in order to produce truly gluten-free products. According to Quest’s website, they take the following steps to prevent cross-contamination of their gluten-free pizzas:

  • Use separate ingredient and product storage from gluten-containing items
  • Schedule production of gluten-free items first thing in the morning before switching over to gluten-containing production
  • Use dedicated equipment and workspaces for gluten-free pizza production
  • Require employees to thoroughly wash hands and change gloves between production runs
  • Use separate packaging lines for gluten-free and gluten-containing items
  • Regularly test surfaces and products to ensure no gluten cross-contamination

Quest even states that their gluten-free items are produced in a dedicated 100% gluten-free facility. So the company appears to take cross-contamination seriously in their production facilities. However, it is unclear if these same precautions are in place at their ingredient suppliers’ facilities. Xanthan gum, for example, is known to have high risks for cross-contamination during farming, transportation, and processing before reaching pizza production facilities.

Does Quest Supreme Pizza contain traces of gluten?

On their website, Quest states that their gluten-free pizzas contain less than 10 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. This falls well below the FDA’s definition of “gluten-free” which allows products to contain up to 20 ppm of gluten to be labeled as gluten-free.

Third party testing has confirmed these low gluten levels in Quest pizzas. One independent lab analysis by the Gluten Free Watchdog found that Quest’s cheese pizza contained 5 ppm of gluten. This indicates that Quest accurately labels their gluten-free pizzas and verifies the low gluten levels through batch testing.

However, those with celiac disease are advised to avoid any exposure to gluten. Some experts advise that celiac patients should consume less than 10 ppm per day from all sources. So while Quest pizzas likely contain very low traces of gluten, the small amounts could potentially add up with other inadvertent exposures throughout the day for those with celiac.

Does Quest offer gluten-free guarantees?

In addition to labeling their pizzas gluten-free and testing for gluten, Quest offers some additional guarantees to give their customers assurance of the low gluten levels in their gluten-free pizzas:

  • Money-back guarantee – Quest offers a money-back guarantee if you are unsatisfied with their gluten-free pizza for any reason.
  • Coupon for replacement pizza – If you contact Quest to report an issue with gluten contamination in their gluten-free pizzas, they will send you a coupon for a free replacement pizza.

Offering guarantees helps build customer trust and shows that Quest stands behind their gluten-free claims. However, those with celiac disease know that consuming gluten can cause serious health setbacks that no refund or coupon can undo. So for celiac customers, the safest approach is to weigh the potential for cross-contamination very carefully despite these guarantees.

Should you try Quest Supreme Pizza on a gluten-free diet?

Whether Quest Supreme Pizza is a safe choice on a gluten-free diet depends on your individual sensitivity level:

  • Celiac disease – Those with celiac disease are advised to avoid any gluten exposure at all. Even tiny amounts of cross-contamination can trigger immune reactions. So despite Quest’s precautions, the potential small risks from ingredients like yeast may make their pizzas unsuitable for customers with celiac disease.
  • Gluten sensitivity – Those with gluten sensitivity or non-celiac gluten intolerance may be able to tolerate small amounts of gluten without major reactions. Quest pizzas could potentially be suitable for some with gluten sensitivity who don’t react strongly to trace gluten amounts under 10 ppm.
  • Mild gluten intolerance – People avoiding gluten for reasons like bloating, fatigue, or other mild digestive issues can likely eat Quest pizzas safely in moderation. The low gluten levels fall well below the 20 ppm cutoff required to label a food as gluten-free.

Those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should exercise particular caution and carefully monitor reactions if choosing to consume Quest pizzas labeled gluten-free. Third party lab testing provides some verification, but zero risk of cross-contamination is difficult to guarantee in any processed food product. Ready-to-eat foods involve some assumption of risk.

Other precautions for gluten-free diets

In addition to carefully choosing gluten-free menu items like Quest pizzas, those adhering to a gluten-free diet should take some other precautions:

  • Check labels closely for gluten-containing ingredients like wheat, rye, barley, malt, and oats.
  • Look for “Certified Gluten-Free” labels from GFCO or other reputable organizations.
  • Contact manufacturers with any questions or concerns about ingredients or facility procedures.
  • Wash hands, work surfaces, and utensils thoroughly before and after contact with gluten.
  • Watch out for cross-contamination in preparation if you share a kitchen with gluten eaters.

Following a gluten-free diet successfully relies heavily on vigilance in addition to choosing naturally gluten-free whole foods. Processed gluten-free products involve some level of trust in manufacturers producing them. Testing your individual tolerance to these types of foods can help you determine if you can incorporate items like Quest Pizza safely in moderation as part of a mostly gluten-free diet.

The bottom line

Quest Pizza takes numerous steps to avoid gluten cross-contamination and verifies the low gluten levels through third-party testing. However, the risk cannot be reduced to zero due to certain ingredients and manufacturing processes. Quest Supreme Pizza appears safe in moderation for those with mild gluten intolerance or sensitivity levels that tolerate trace gluten under 10ppm. But those with celiac disease may want to exercise more caution and avoid it.

As with any processed food labeled gluten-free, individual tolerance levels vary. The safest approach for celiac patients is to verify any gluten-free claims directly with the manufacturer and make choices based on your proven sensitivity levels. Though Quest offers guarantees, health reactions are still possible even from the small amounts of potential cross-contamination. Weigh the enjoyment of pizza against your willingness to accept a low risk of exposure. With proper precautions like thorough label reading and handwashing, an occasional Quest pizza may be feasible for some gluten-free diet followers, though not advisable for all.

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