By Rachel Sircy
Just like buffets at restaurants, the holidays can be a bit of a nightmare for celiacs. Picking your way through food from unknown sources can be a bit like taking a stroll through a minefield: guess wrong and you could really be in some pain. So, what do we do about trick or treating with kids who need to be gluten free? Or, if you’re having an office party and candy is present, how do you decide what’s safe to eat and what’s not?
Well, I must confess that I’ve made some real blunders through this minefield myself. The thing is, some candy just seems so innocent. Like the Hershey’s Special Dark Bar. It’s a bit mind boggling that this block of solid chocolate would contain gluten, but it does. It’s not like the Hershey company keeps this a secret, it’s just that I never bothered to look. For a long time, I kept getting sick and I couldn’t figure out why. My advice to anyone who has an issue with gluten, don’t think you can just look at something and take a good guess and be okay. Always do your research. This year, I’m going to point you toward some places that can help you do that.
The Hershey company keeps a fairly comprehensive list of gluten free products in the US at this website:< https://www.thehersheycompany.com/en_us/products/dietary-needs.html>
They update this list regularly, so check it periodically to make sure that they haven’t changed how or where they make certain products. Also, beware that many variations of certain gluten free candies – as in most seasonal specialty candies (i.e., Reese’s Pumpkins) and even the fun-size versions – are NOT gluten free. Hershey’s list of gluten free products will let you know which variation is okay to eat. For example they state that all Almond Joy products are gluten free EXCEPT Almond Joy Pieces candy.
Another very comprehensive list is maintained by the Celiac Foundation and can be found at https://celiac.org/live-gluten-free/lifestyle/gluten-free-candy-lists/gluten-free-lifestyle/general-candy-list/ The Celiac Foundation also maintains a yearly Halloween Candy list that is printable…
Again, I would encourage anyone who has a gluten intolerance or allergy to check these lists regularly because companies can change the ingredients in a product and/or where a product is produced at any time.
And, for your convenience, I have copied from the Celiac Foundation list some of what I suspect will be common items in your child’s trick or treat bag which ARE gluten free:
- Hershey’s Milk Duds
- Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (all except Unwrapped Minis and Seasonal Shaped Items)
- Reese’s Pieces (all except Eggs)
- Sour Patch Kids (includes Sour Patch Xtreme, Sour Patch Xploders, Sour Patch Watermelon and Swedish Fish)
- Smarties (according to their website almost all Smarties products except Gummies are gluten free and made in a gluten free facility)
- Mike and Ike, Original Fruits, Mummy and Vampire Mix, Berry Blast, Lemonade Blends, Zours
- Hot Tamales
- Peeps Vampires
- Butterfingers (original flavor ONLY. The seasonal shaped pumpkins and any other variety are NOT gluten free.)
- Laffy Taffy (including Laffy Taffy Rope and Fruitarts Chews)
- Pixy Stix
AND, I saw this at the store and it just made my day…
According to Tootsie Roll Industries ALL of their confections are gluten free!
Happy trick or treating!