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 Jelly Beans (labeled gluten-free)
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 Jelly Beans (labeled gluten-free)
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 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 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
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
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
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
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 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 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 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 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.
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!