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Jimmy John’s tagline is “Freaky Fresh – Freaky Fast”. Jimmy John’s certainly was freaky fast in responding to my question on if they offer gluten-free menu options. Read on for my chat with Christine at Jimmy John’s.

DOES JIMMY JOHN’S HAVE A GLUTEN-FREE ROLL?

Jimmy John’s does NOT have a gluten-free roll or bun for their sandwiches. All of Jimmy John’s bread contains gluten. However, Christine advised that they offer the Unwich – a lettuce-wrapped sandwich (hoagie or sub depending on what part of the country you’re located). The Unwich is fully customizable.

WHAT’S GLUTEN-FREE AT JIMMY JOHN’S?

At the time of this post, the following items are gluten-free per Jimmy John’s Allergen Information:

  • Sandwich: Unwich (Lettuce Wrap)
  • Lunch meats: Ham, Turkey, Roast Beef, Salami, Capicola, Bacon
    Note: I did ask if they would disclose what brand of lunch meat they used, but they were not able to. Their website details “our meats are minimally processed (except for caramel color on roast beef) and contain no artificial ingredients“.
  • Condiments: Avocado Spread, Kickin’ Ranch, Hellmann’s Mayo, Jimmy Mustard, Grey Poupon, Yellow Mustard, Oil & Vinegar, Oregano-Basil
  • Veggies: Lettuce, Tomato, Cucumber, Onion, Sprouts, Jimmy Peppers, Pickles
  • Chips: Regular Jimmy Chips, Thinny Chips, Jalapeño Jimmy Chips

IMPORTANT – PROVOLONE CHEESE AND BARLEY

On the Jimmy John’s allergen list, Cheese is marked as containing gluten with the notation “May contain <20ppm barley gluten.” I’ve never heard of provolone containing gluten and asked for clarification from Christine. Her answer was:

“The FDA considers <20ppm to be gluten-free. The culture product that creates the provolone can contain barley. But that’s a trace amount.”

I’ve reached out to the National Celiac Association for additional information on provolone. Managing Director, Kim Buckton responded:

Thank you for your email message. I have not heard of a barley culture in a Provolone cheese product before. I saw the same thing you did on the Jimmy John’s online menu and allergen list. I, too, reached out to them to try to get more information but they were unwilling to share the manufacturer’s name and simply reiterated the following: “The listing for barley gluten for cheese is specific to the cheese culture media. The manufacturer reports that an ingredient in the culture media may contain barley gluten; the finished cheese product content would be <20 ppm.”

I will try to get more information from Jimmy John’s about the cheese they are using, and I will let you know if I hear back from them. I would be concerned about the risk of cross-contact in a restaurant such as Jimmy John’s. I hope this response is somewhat helpful.

Yours in health,
Kim

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM GETTING GLUTENED

No matter where you go, always:

  1. Ask to speak with a manager and explain that your need for a gluten-free meal is due to medical reasons.
  2. Ask the manager to ensure the person preparing your order washes their hands and changes gloves before making your meal.
  3. Ask to see ingredient labels – there’s no shame in that game. I once had an employee bring me a 10-pound container of nacho cheese so I could read the ingredients. It was gluten-free – I tried to run away with it – sadly mission was thwarted.
  4. Never ever feel embarrassed or high maintenance – you’re advocating for the safety of your meal. Own it!
  5. Be prepared with a backup plan. I always have a protein bar or snack in the car.

GET THE DETAILS: Be sure to check out my other gluten-free fast food articles here.

What’s your favorite gluten-free fast food restaurant? Is there a specific place you feel you’re able to safely dine? Share with the Hold the Gluten community in the comments below!