Are Jelly Beans Gluten-Free? The Sweet Truth 2019

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pile of assorted gluten-free jelly beans

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.

EASTER JELLY BEANS: 2019 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. I've broken out this list into three parts:

1) Gluten-free jelly beans based upon labeling and/or brand website

2) Gluten-free jelly beans based on ingredients and manufacturing processes

3) Jelly Beans with gluten-free ingredients, but are manufactured in a facility that processes wheat

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.

GLUTEN-FREE EASTER CANDY THAT IS LABELED GLUTEN-FREE ON PACKAGE AND/OR MANUFACTURER WEBSITE

The products listed below are marked with a gluten-free symbol or wording on the package or the manufacturer has listed the product as gluten-free on their website. 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.

GIMBALS

Gimbals Jelly Beans (labeled gluten-free)
Gimbals website

JELLY BELLY

All Jelly Belly jelly beans are gluten-free (labeled gluten-free). See my full post on Gluten-Free Jelly Belly jelly beans here.

JUST BORN
Just Born Assorted Fruits Jelly Beans
Just Born Licorice Flavored Black Jelly Beans
Just Born Spice Jelly Beans

From the Just Born website: Just Born Jelly Beans are gluten-free, kosher, fat-free, and produced in the USA. The modified food starch that we use in our candies is corn starch.

Note: Just Born is in the process of updating package labels to include gluten-free statements (where appropriate). I have not seen a "gluten-free" label on any of the above jelly beans yet.

MIKE AND IKE

Mike and Ike Jelly Beans Assorted Fruits (labeled gluten-free
Mike and Ike candy brand is owned by Just Born, Inc.

SURF SWEETS

Surf Sweets Jelly Beans (labeled gluten-free)

SWEET'S CANDY

Sweet's Candy Assorted Jelly Beans
Sweet's Candy Black Licorice Jelly Beans

From the Sweet's Candy website: Sweet's Assorted & Black Jelly Beans are noted as gluten-free on the product page. Via the Why Chose Us page "We serve a variety of health needs, including sugar-free, non-GMO, gluten-free candy, and non-artificial colorings."

YUM EARTH

Yum Earth Naturals Organic Sour Beans (labeled gluten-free) 

JELLY BEANS THAT DO NOT CONTAIN GLUTEN INGREDIENTS AND ARE NOT MANUFACTURED IN A FACILITY THAT PROCESSES WHEAT

This means the products listed below are gluten-free based upon ingredients and manufacturing, but have not been tested per U.S. FDA guidelines.

BRACH’S

Brach’s Black Jelly Beans
Brach's Speckled Jelly Bird Easter Eggs
Brach’s Jumbo Jelly Beans
Brach's Classic Jelly Bird Easter Eggs
Brach’s Rainbow Imperials

*Please see Manufactured in a Facility that Processes Wheat" list below for more information on Brach's Tiny Jelly Bird beans. Brach's is owned by Ferrara Candy Company

JOLLY RANCHER

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. Jolly Rancher is owned by The Hershey Company

LAFFY TAFFY

Laffy Taffy Jelly Beans
Laffy Taffy is owned by Ferrara Candy Company

Per Kelsey of Customer Support at Ferrara. Kelsey informed me that Laffy Taffy jelly beans are gluten-free. Read more about all Laffy Taffy gluten-free products here.

NOW AND LATER

Now and Later Jelly Beans
Now and Later is owned by Ferrara Candy Company

STARBURST

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

Per Ashley at Mars Wrigley Customer Service, “Our products do not contain gluten (oats rye, barley, or wheat). Products with gluten are not used in the facility, in the machinery, or in the actual product itself.” Starburst is owned by Mars, Incorporated

SWEETARTS

SweeTARTS Easter Sour Jelly Beans
SweeTARTS is owned by Ferrara Candy Company

TROLLI

Trolli Sour Brite Gummy Beans
Trolli is owned by Ferrara Candy Company

JELLY BEANS THAT DO NOT CONTAIN ANY GLUTEN INGREDIENTS, BUT ARE MANUFACTURED IN A FACILITY THAT PROCESSES WHEAT

What exactly does "Made in a Facility that contains/processes 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/processes 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.

BRACH’S

Brach's Easter Tiny Jelly Bird Eggs

From the Brach's Tiny Jelly Bird Eggs package: Manufactured in a facility where wheat is used in the production of other products. Brach's is owned by Ferrara Candy Company. Read my post about Brach's Jelly Beans.

CVS

CVS Cottondale Jelly Beans
From the CVS Cottondale package: Packed in a facility where products containing wheat are packaged. CVS website

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. Sour Patch Kids website

SWEDISH FISH

Swedish Fish Jelly Beans
From the Swedish Fish package: Manufactured in a facility that processes wheat. Swedish Fish is owned by Mondelēz International, Inc. Want to know if other Swedish Fish products are gluten-free? See full post.

WARHEADS

Warheads Sour Jelly Beans
Assorted Easter Design Warheads Sour Jelly Beans Filled Tubes
From the Warheads packages: Manufactured in a facility that processes wheat. Warheads is owned by Impact Confections. Did you know other WarHeads products contain wheat? Learn more.

WELCH’S

Welch's Jelly Beans
From the Welch’s package: Manufactured in a facility that processes wheat. Welch's website See my full post on Welch's jelly beans here.


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 frozen 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!

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Maureen

Maureen

Maureen Stanley was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2005. Way back before gluten-free was “mainstream“. Maureen created Hold The Gluten blog and podcast in 2008 as a way to connect members of the gluten-free community across the world.

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