If you’re gluten intolerant, you may have found yourself wondering, Are Reese Pieces gluten free? While Reese’s has several products that are certified gluten free, their signature candy pieces aren’t one of them.
Are Reese Pieces Gluten Free?
Although they aren’t specifically marketed as gluten-free, some confectionery experts believe that Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are free of gluten.
However, due to their manufacturing process, which involves wheat starch and soy lecithin, it is more accurate to describe them as gluten-reduced. To ensure total avoidance of gluten, consumers should look for products that specifically list gluten as an ingredient on their packaging.
If a product is labeled “gluten free” or “may contain trace amounts of gluten”, it may not be safe for consumers with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity to consume.
What Are the Risks of Cross-contamination With Gluten in Reese’s Pieces?
The biggest risk when it comes to cross-contamination with gluten in Reese’s pieces is during baking. The mix that goes into producing these tasty little morsels contains wheat and barley, which are among some of the most common gluten-containing grains.
If you have celiac disease or severe gluten sensitivity, even small amounts of wheat can trigger an allergic reaction. In addition to potentially causing damage to your intestinal lining, some people may develop rashes, brain fog, and other issues after eating cross-contaminated foods.
Because these reactions are not necessarily visible, it can be hard for those who do suffer from these conditions to know if they’ve come into contact with something they shouldn’t have.
Reese’s pieces nutritional facts
|Nutrition facts||Reese’s pieces|
|Units||38 pieces (30g)|
Should I Avoid Reese’s Pieces If I Have Celiac Disease?
Many consumers are often confused about whether or not certain foods contain gluten. This confusion stems from some food manufacturers listing wheat as an ingredient in their products when, in fact, they actually do not use wheat in their product formulation.
Because of that, a lot of people with celiac disease wonder if a product labeled as containing wheat is gluten-free. You may also be wondering if you can eat Reese’s Pieces if you have celiac disease.
Is it safe to eat Reese’s Pieces despite them being listed as containing wheat? Let’s take a look at what they’re made of and how they’re processed in order to figure out whether or not they’re safe for those who suffer from celiac disease.
Reese’s Pieces are an American candy brand produced by The Hershey Company. They consist of peanut butter cups covered in milk chocolate, which makes them seem like a perfect snack for children (and adults) who are allergic to peanuts.
Are Reese Pieces Safe for Celiacs?
Unfortunately, no. As we mentioned above, Reese’s Pieces contain both peanuts and wheat ingredients on their ingredient list (specifically wheat flour and wheat starch).
This means that eating these candies could cause adverse reactions in some individuals who have celiac disease because consuming foods containing wheat triggers an immune response in their bodies due to their inability to properly digest gluten proteins found within these foods.
Why They Are Reese Pieces Technically Not Gluten Free
That said, many consumers often ask are Reese Pieces gluten free. In general, companies do not need to label their products as gluten-free unless they include one of two types of ingredients:
- Any type of whole grain that has been contaminated with wheat;
- Any type of food that has been cross-contaminated with gluten during processing.
For example, let’s say that a company was making chocolate bars using oats. If they were making them in a facility where other products containing wheat were being manufactured, then there would be a risk of cross-contamination between those two different products and so manufacturers would need to label their products as gluten-free on their packaging.
So why aren’t Reese’s Pieces labeled as gluten-free? It all comes down to how the manufacturer processes its ingredients. According to Hershey’s, Reese’s Pieces are made up of
- cocoa butter
- partially hydrogenated vegetable oil
- corn syrup solids
- lecithin (emulsifier)
- TBHQ [an antioxidant]
- artificial flavor
And here’s how each of these ingredients is processed:
- Peanuts used in their products are roasted at temperatures over 400 degrees Fahrenheit before being ground into peanut paste.
- Wheat Flour – Wheat flour used in Reese’s Pieces contains wheat protein that cannot be digested by those with celiac disease.
- Wheat Starch – Just like wheat flour, wheat starch contains gluten that cannot be digested by those with celiac disease.
- Lecithin – Lecithin is an emulsifier derived from egg yolks or soybeans.
- Corn Syrup Solids – Corn syrup solids are simply dried glucose extracted from cornstarch.
- Dextrose – Dextrose is another name for glucose, which is commonly extracted from plant sources such as potatoes and tapioca roots.
- Artificial Flavor – Artificial flavors are chemically synthesized compounds designed to mimic natural flavors found in nature.
- Sodium Caseinate – Sodium caseinate is a combination of sodium and casein, which is a protein that is isolated from cow’s milk.
- TBHQ – TBHQ (tert-Butylhydroquinone) is an antioxidant used to preserve fats and oils in Reese’s Pieces.
- Cottonseed Oil – Cottonseed oil is extracted from cottonseeds, which are seeds that grow on a shrub native to India.
- Soybean Oil – Soybean oil is another common cooking oil that provides fatty acids for cooking purposes.
I Know Someone Who Has Celiac Disease And They Ate Them With No Problems
While you might be able to find someone else with celiac disease who says they’ve eaten Reese’s Pieces without experiencing any adverse symptoms, keep in mind that everyone reacts differently to gluten consumption. One such product is Reese’s Pieces.
I Had No Idea That Wheat Was an Ingredient in Them
Since they are made in a factory that produces products containing wheat, they must be labeled as may contain wheat. However, wheat is not a necessary ingredient in most products and may be replaced with ingredients such as rice, barley, or rye.
Other foods that are naturally gluten-free but are labeled as containing wheat are typically those that have been flavored with wheat to give them a certain taste.