Thursday, January 15, 2009

Uno Chicago Grill

Uno Chicago Grill Rolls Out Gluten-Free Pizza Nationally

BOSTON, Jan. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Following a highly successful market test, Uno Chicago Grill(R) will offer its new, gluten-free pizza nationally. Uno(R) is the first national casual dining chain to offer a gluten-free pizza and received very positive feedback from guests who suffer from celiac disease, which affects approximately one percent of the population.

In fact, word-of-mouth reaction from the gluten-free community during the northeastern market test prompted the company to advance the timetable for a national rollout.

"Food allergies are a very serious, sometimes life-threatening, issue for many Americans," notes Uno CEO Frank Guidara. "Pizza is our signature product, and we wanted to offer a gluten-free pizza so all of our guests could enjoy it when dining at Uno."

"Consumer reaction was so positive in the gluten-free community that our restaurants began receiving requests to carry the new pizza," noted Richard Hendrie, senior vice president, marketing, Uno Chicago Grill. "Because the demand was so strong, we decided to pull out all the stops to get the gluten-free pizza into our 200-plus locations as quickly as possible."

Recently lauded as America's Healthiest Chain Restaurant, Uno has added gluten-free cheese and pepperoni pizzas to what is already one of the most extensive gluten-free menus available for a casual dining chain. This is good news to the estimated three million Americans diagnosed with celiac disease, as well as an additional seven million Americans who have a wheat intolerance or allergy and rely on gluten-free foods. While awareness of celiac disease is rising, an estimated 97 percent of those who have it remain undiagnosed.

Guidara explained that it took over a year of research and development to find just the right recipe for a brand that is known for its iconic pizza. "While we want to meet the needs of guests with allergies, we never forget that we are about great taste and choice, and that means developing new dishes that are healthful without sacrificing great flavor."

Uno Chicago Grill works closely with its Nutrition Advisory Board, which meets quarterly to discuss trends and solutions to improve the quality and nutritional value of its menu. Guidara oversees the Advisory Board and brings his expertise as a member of the Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Roundtable.

According to the Gluten Intolerance Group, surveys show that about 15 to 25 percent of consumers report looking for gluten-free products, far more than need to.

Uno boasts a number of healthy firsts, including being the first national restaurant chain to eliminate artificial trans-fats and to increase menu and nutritional transparency via nutrition information centers located in their restaurants. The company's gluten-free menu has 20 items ranging from entrees, salads, sides and desserts. For guest convenience and safety, Uno clearly labels menu items with ingredients that are linked to the most common food allergies, such as fish/shellfish, soy, tree nuts/peanuts, egg, milk and wheat/gluten. Diners can also preview the menu and nutritional information online via the company's website at


One popular idea is for Starbucks to offer more gluten-free options.

We’ve started doing some operational testing in a select number of our stores and the baristas & customers who participated were psyched about the idea. One barista shared, “Out of all the tests we’ve done, this one feels like we’re doing the most for the customer!” Before we continue moving forward, we would love some feedback from you about what you want to see in gluten-free offerings.

Here are a few questions we have for you:
• What specific gluten-free products would you like to see in our stores?
• Would you prefer to see it individually packaged or unpackaged?
• How would you like to learn we have gluten-free products? For example, would you like to see it on a sign or would you prefer the barista tell you?
• Where would you like to see gluten-free products in the store; in the pastry case or placed elsewhere?
• The ingredient costs of gluten-free products tend to be higher, so would you understand if we charged more for the gluten-free version?

We appreciate your feedback and are excited to continue moving gluten-free forward.
In regards to packaged food products, we currently offer a gluten-free Amaretti Cookie available on the retail shelves. We continue to explore what other fresh food and packaged food to offer at Starbucks. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


"Gluten makes me sick"

Gluten intolerance is also a genetic disorder, so it runs in families. About 1 in 133 Americans have the condition, but that number may rise to 1 in 22 for those who have an immediate family member with gluten intolerance. Gluten Intolerance is currently 97% Undiagnosed, Imagine what these numbers would be if we had more awareness. You can also be Gluten Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitive (NCGS) ~15% of all people or 1 in 7 are gluten sensitive.

All "Gluten intolerance" is easily identified by an Elimination Diet. However many people turn to blood tests as a first investigation. Because the most common test for Gluten intolerance is still the old-fashioned Celiac test (blood tests and intestinal biopsy), most Gluten intolerant people return a 'negative' or inconclusive test. You can still be gluten sensitive. Does this mean they are not gluten sensitive? NO, regardless of the "label" you still need the same result a "gluten free diet" I believe "gluten" is a much bigger issue then mainstream medicine is aware of or will admit.

It is also important to note that although some people with "gluten tolerance" suffer severe symptoms, some suffer none at all. Why I personally believe if you have a family member with "gluten intolerance", it's important to have some type of testing/elimination diet done.


Elimination Diet
Elimination Diet is a tool for finding out which foods cause your symptoms.

Celiac panel

The blood test for celiac disease is looking for the following :
AGA (antigliadin)
IgAAGA (antigliadin)
IgGEMA (antiendomysial)
tTG (anti-tissue transglutaminase)
Total serum IgA
Genetics testing

The stool test is a specific test for gluten sensitivity. Because the antibodies are produced in the intestine, these tests are also extremely sensitive in detecting certain antibodies. These tests can be ordered by phone or Internet and done at home (you then mail the sample to the lab), and as such, are simple and non-invasive. The stool test can also be used to determine the presence of a genetic predisposition for celiac disease.


Most saliva tests do not look for the specific celiac disease antibodies
(EMA and tTG), but do look at AGA (IgA and IgG).
They are therefore most helpful
in determining gluten sensitivity/intolerance, and not celiac disease.
The ALCAT Test differs from other food allergy or intolerance tests as it accurately and objectively measures leukocyte cellular reactivity in whole blood, which is a final common pathway of all mechanisms. The test utilizes electronic, state of the art, hematological instrumentation. ALCAT offer different test panel's most include "gluten" testing.
They also offer a "20 Food Finger-Stick Screen "
a simple non invasive testing method for gluten screening.


A RAST test (short for radioallergosorbent test) is a blood test used to determine to what substances a person is allergic. A RAST test, using a person's extracted blood, detects the amount of Ige that reacts specifically with suspected or known allergens.

Skin Test
An allergy skin test is used to identify the substances that are causing your allergy symptoms. It is often performed by applying an extract of an allergen to your skin, scratching or pricking the skin to allow exposure, and then evaluating the skin's reaction. It may also be done by injecting the allergen under the skin, or by applying it to a patch that is worn on the skin for a specified period of time.

Applied kinesiology

Applied kinesiology (AK) is a technique used to diagnose illness or choose treatment by testing muscles for strength and weakness. It's sometimes used to try and find out if a particular food or other substance weakens or makes the person stronger.

ELISA IgG Blood Test
If you have an intolerance of a certain food, your
body’s natural reaction may be to produce what is known as an IgG antibody against it.