Are Haribo Gummy Bears Gluten-free?

Are Haribo Gummy Bears gluten-free? People are confused because some people list them as a gluten-free candy and other’s don’t. This is likely because of 2 controversial ingredients in the Haribo Gummy Bear ingredient label: Glucose (made from wheat or corn) and Dextrose (made from wheat or corn).

Does this mean Haribo Gummy Bears aren’t celiac-safe? Why would so many people list them as a gluten-free candy? Let’s breakdown the food science to find out.

Are Haribo Gummy Bears Gluten-free​ - Tayler Silfverduk, celiac dietitian - are haribo gummy bears celiac safe, dextrose celiac safe, dextrose gluten-free, glucose from wheat gluten-free, dextrose from wheat gluten-free
(I'm pulling this from the Amazon 5lb Goldbears Haribo Gummi Candy listing on Amazon).

Are Haribo Gummy Bears Gluten-free?

In determining if Haribo Gummy Bears are gluten-free, let’s first look at the offending ingredients found on the Haribo Gummy Bear label: Glucose (made from wheat or corn) and Dextrose (made from wheat or corn) both are causes for concern for consumers.

And understandably so, wheat is one of the foods to avoid with celiac. So how come people are saying these gummy bears are celiac-safe?

It’s because Haribo Gummy Bears are celiac-safe. (Are you gasping or are you gearing up to fight me?… just let me explain)

Quick Lesson on Celiac

In order to understand how Haribo Gummy Bears are in fact, celiac-safe, let’s briefly touch on the basics of celiac.

With celiac, you have to avoid the gluten protein found in gluten-containing grains, like wheat. This is because when the gluten protein is consumed with celiac, the small intestine is damaged which leads to a wide array of harmful symptoms.

It’s important to note that the offending compound here is the gluten protein, not the sugars found in wheat and other gluten containing grains.

Glucose and Dextrose Derived From Wheat are Celiac-Safe

Now that we have that refresher, we can start to unpack how Haribo Gummy Bears are gluten-free when they have wheat listed in the ingredients.

Glucose is another name for sugar, and sugar can be derived from a variety of things, including wheat. It’s important to note that glucose derived from wheat would not contain any of the wheat proteins, including gluten.

In fact, the National Celiac Association confirms that glucose is so refined that there would be likely no gluten left over, and if it was leftover, it would be below 20ppm (which is celiac-safe).

The same applies for Dextrose, which is another word for glucose.

Final Thoughts

It can be scary to see wheat pop up on the food label of something that is actually celiac-safe and for some, this is not something they are willing to eat. While we have generally celiac-safe guidelines, how your body responds matters so if you eat Haribo Gummy Bears and don’t feel good, obviously they aren’t a good choice for you.

But, in general, Haribo Gummy Bears are gluten-free and celiac-safe.

Need more help with label-reading and understanding the food label for celiac-safety?

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