He’s got gluten-free jelly beans for Tommy,
Colored eggs for sister Sue,
There’s an orchid for your Mommy
And an Easter bonnet, too.
I altered the lyrics to Peter Cottontail just a tad since this post is all about gluten-free jelly beans (and ones that may contain gluten). Right after Valentine’s Day, these colorful beans fill the shelves of every supermarket and drug store around the country. Since the 1930’s, jelly beans have been a fixture in Easter baskets (eureka! people realized that the beans resembled eggs).
So, are jelly beans gluten-free? The short answer is no, not all of them. Some may contain wheat. Read on for information on my research, company statements, and list of gluten-free jelly beans to enjoy!
DO JELLY BEANS HAVE GLUTEN?
The basic ingredients of jelly beans include sugar, tapioca or corn syrup, and pectin or starch. Relatively minor amounts of the emulsifying agent lecithin, anti-foaming agents, an edible wax such as carnauba wax or beeswax, salt, and confectioner's glaze are also included. via Gale Cengage Learning
That means the actual ingredients of jelly beans are gluten-free. However, where and how these tasty beans are made determine if they are truly gluten-free.
P.S. No, bunnies don’t poop jelly beans out. That's an urban legend.
WHAT EXACTLY DOES “MADE IN A FACILITY THAT CONTAINS WHEAT” MEAN?
If you see this notation on your ingredient label, it means that the food you’re thinking of eating has been manufactured in a facility that processes other foods containing wheat. Even though your product does not contain any gluten ingredients, due to wheat being present in the facility, cross-contamination can occur.
HOW CAN I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE "MADE IN A FACILITY THAT CONTAINS WHEAT STATEMENT"?
1) Visit the manufacturer’s website and review their Allergen statement.
2) If there is not an allergen statement online or the details are not clear, contact the manufacturer directly.
3) Ask the manufacture for clarification on if the processing lines are cleaned after processing foods that contain wheat, how often they are cleaned, and if the lines are tested for levels of wheat.
EASTER JELLY BEANS: GLUTEN-FREE JELLY BEAN LIST
The brands listed below have been researched for my 2019 Gluten-Free Jelly Bean list. All of the jelly beans below are gluten-free based on ingredients. See my notation for brands that are specifically labeled gluten-free. I've also noted brands that process wheat in their facility. Remember, ingredients and processing of any food or personal care product (including jelly beans) can change at any time, so I've included all company websites for your reference. Even if you think something is gluten-free, always read the label.
It’s important to note that only a few jelly bean brands are labeled “gluten-free”. For a food to be labeled gluten-free, it must pass the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s guidelines. As with any other candy, food, or personal care product, the safest choice is certified gluten-free.
Brach’s Black Jelly Beans
Brach's Speckled Jelly Bird Easter Eggs
Brach’s Jumbo Jelly Beans
Brach's Easter Tiny Jelly Bird Eggs
Brach's Classic Jelly Bird Easter Eggs
Brach’s Rainbow Imperials
From the Brach’s packages: Manufactured in facility that processes wheat.
CVS Cottondale Jelly Beans
From the CVS Cottondale package: Packed in a facility where products containing wheat are packaged.
Gimbals Jelly Beans (labeled gluten-free)
Jolly Rancher Jelly Beans Original Flavors
Jolly Rancher Jelly Beans Wild Berry
From the Jolly Rancher website: While Jolly Rancher Candies have not been fully evaluated to qualify as gluten-free by FDA standards, they do not include any gluten-containing ingredients.
Just Born Assorted Fruits Jelly Beans (labeled gluten-free)
Just Born Licorice Flavored Black Jelly Beans (labeled gluten-free)
Just Born Spice Jelly Beans (labeled gluten-free)
From the Just Born website: We offer many gluten-free products under the Peeps brand and we are in the process of updating package labels to include gluten-free statements where appropriate. The modified food starch that we use in our candies is corn starch.
However, because some of our products may be manufactured and/or packaged in a facility that may also handle non gluten-free products, we encourage consumers to read the labels carefully for the most up-to-date ingredient and allergen information. For further questions, please call our Consumer Relations Team toll-free at 1-888-645-3453.
MIKE AND IKE
Mike and Ike Jelly Beans Assorted Fruits (labeled gluten-free)
Mike and Ike candy brand is owned by Just Born, Inc.
NOW AND LATER
Now and Later Jelly Beans
Now and Later is owned by Ferrara Candy Company
SOUR PATCH KIDS
Sour Patch Kids Jelly Beans
From the Sour Patch Kids package: Sour Patch Kids Jelly Beans are manufactured in a facility that processes wheat.
Assorted Jelly Beans
Starburst Easter Duos Jellybeans
Starburst Easter Jellybeans Original Jellybean
Starburst Easter Jellybeans Ice Cream
Starburst Tropical Jellybeans
Starburst Easter Jellybeans Favereds
Starburst Easter Jellybeans Sours
Starburst Easter Jellybeans Original Filled Egg
Starburst is owned by Mars, Incorporated
Surf Sweets Jelly Beans (labeled gluten-free)
Swedish Fish Jelly Beans
From the Swedish Fish package: Manufactured in a facility that processes wheat.
Swedish Fish is owned by Mondelēz International, Inc.
Sweet's Candy Assorted Jelly Beans
Sweet's Candy Black Licorice Jelly Beans
Sweet's Candy website
Warheads Sour Jelly Beans
Assorted Easter Design Warheads Sour Jelly Beans Filled Tubes
From the Warheads packages: Manufactured in a facility that processes wheat.
Welch's Jelly Beans
From the Welch’s package: Manufactured in a facility that processes wheat.
Yum Earth Naturals Organic Sour Beans (labeled gluten-free)
CAUTION: JELLY BEANS THAT MAY CONTAIN GLUTEN
CAUTION: TARGET MARKET PANTRY Assorted Flavors Jelly Beans (may contain wheat) via Target website
CAUTION: RUSSELL STOVER Pectin Jelly Beans (may contain wheat) via Russell Stover website
BE CAUTIOUS OF RE-BAGGED JELLY BEANS AND CANDY BINS
Self-serve candy bins that use tongs or scoops can quickly become cross-contaminated. Just imagine the person before you grabbing a scoopful of Whoppers before their scoop of gluten-free Hot Tamales. It’s also easy for gluten-containing foods to end up accidentally dropped in your “gluten-free” jelly beans or candy. This goes for DIY yogurt and ice cream shops. Those dang gluten-filled Oreos end up everywhere!
Also watch out for jelly beans that have been purchased in bulk by another company and re-bagged. For example, while a company such as Jelly Belly labels their products gluten-free (Jelly Belly products coming directly from a Jelly Belly manufacturing plant), they caution to “Always read the Ingredient Label on packages and bulk bins to see if gluten containing ingredients are present.”
SERIOUSLY DEEP THOUGHTS USING JELLY BEANS
Question: Am I the only person who pulls out the Easter baskets each year and finds rogue jelly beans? They're like little ninjas hiding in the Easter grass!