This Halloween don’t be spooked by hidden gluten in candy that you love. The food industry commonly handles gluten-containing ingredients like wheat in cookies or barley malt syrup as a sweetener. This makes candy a potential danger for those suffering with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance/ sensitivity. It’s important to do some research and check the labels of every candy, every time. Manufacturers may change recipes or procedures and a previously gluten-free candy might become a dangerous indulgence seemingly overnight. Another great thing to keep an eye out for is if they have a certified gluten-free seal on their packaging.
Where can you find gluten in candy?
If you’re eating a gluten-free diet, there are a few obvious candies to avoid this Halloween. Specifically, candy containing pretzels, wafers, or cookie pieces can all potentially contain gluten. Gluten can hide easily in candy. One example of this is Reese’s peanut butter cups. While the typically Reese’s you find all over the place is gluten-free, Hershey’s states that its seasonal shaped peanut butter cups are not. This means that if you’re avoiding eating gluten, you should steer clear of these pumpkin-shaped candies that debut around Halloween.
More sources of hidden gluten in candy may come in some of the popular non-chocolate candy. While candy bars with crisped rice like Crunch or Krackel contain naturally gluten-free rice, they also usually contain malt syrup. This ingredient comes from barley and is therefore not a safe option. This is also the case with Rice Krispies Treats which puts them on the black list for gluten-free trick-or-treaters. One sweet treat you may be surprised to hear commonly contains gluten is licorice. Popular brands like Twizzlers and Red Vines have wheat flour as their second ingredient. Gluten-free licorice that’s made with modified corn or potato starch does exist, but we wouldn’t chance it when trick-or-treating.
Trick-or-treating might look different this year, and this could be good if you’re avoiding gluten
A lot of people are saying they are avoiding trick-or-treating altogether this year due to COVID-19. If your child is avoiding gluten, this may just be another reason to dress up and enjoy Halloween activities from the safety of your home. If you do happen to go trick-or-treating or go to the store to stock up on candy for the house, make sure to check the labels. Candy companies are hearing consumer demand to have transparency when it comes to gluten and are making this information clearer. While the candy wrapper is the best place to check for the most up-to-date ingredient and allergen information, company websites are also great places to look for gluten-free candy listings. With the FDA’s final definition for gluten-free food and a policy in place for policing this, manufacturers are being held to a much higher standard when it comes to marking something as gluten-free.
Do an inspection of the candy
This Halloween, if you do happen to go out trick-or-treating, make sure to conduct a gluten inspection before indulging. Similar to how you check for torn wrappers and unsafe items, inspect the labels so you make sure what you’re eating is safe. Another great idea is to research where you’ll find gluten in candy before you head out so your kiddo can pick the best option. Check out this awesome chart from Celiac.org which gives a full list of gluten-free treats! A safe Halloween is a happy one and avoiding gluten tricks and finding safe and sweet treats is a surefire way to guarantee an awesome holiday.