Chocolate and gluten

Some questions we hear often: is chocolate gluten-free? How can I check if a chocolate bar is gluten-free? Where can I find gluten-free chocolate?

Gluten-free has become a popular lifestyle and trend in the food industry, as many consumers discover their intolerance to gluten, or simply feel better without it. It now seems that if a product doesn’t carry the claim “gluten-free”, it must have gluten in it. Well, the truth is that, unless it has inclusions of grains, all chocolate is gluten-free! There is no stage of the bean-to-bar process, from small to large scale, that requires the addition of ingredients that include gluten to make chocolate. Only if the chocolate maker decides to include grains (like breadcrumbs or cereals) in her/his creation for a specific flavor, then the chocolate contains gluten. Otherwise, all dark, milk and white chocolate is gluten free by default.

The best way to cast any doubt is to check the ingredients list, which is always a truth teller.

Some companies go as far as to be certified Gluten Free, which means that in their factories no gluten is processed. You will usually find the label proudly displayed on their packaging, so there will be no doubts. The rest of the non-certified companies (remember that certifications are expensive and not all small businesses can afford them) must include the “May include gluten” disclaimer on their packaging for law in case other gluten products are processed in the same factory on the same machines. Even if no ingredient with gluten is included in that specific chocolate, they are required to put this disclaimer to avoid possible charges or complaints. Even when a chocolate bar “may include gluten”, it doesn’t mean it does. But if you suffer from severe intolerance, it’s always better to contact the company.

Keep all this in mind next time you shop for gluten-free chocolate.

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