Celiac Saturday: Gluten Free Franks

June 25, 2011

Hot Dogs

With cookout season in full swing (and 4th of July right around the corner!) hot dogs and hamburgers become summer staples. While hamburgers are pretty straightforward and are naturally gluten free -- assuming your grillmaster doesn't add a "special sauce" or seasoning into the mix, hot dogs are a whole other story. While the process of producing hot dogs is not a favorite topic to ponder, when you have a food allergy or dietary restriction like gluten intolerance or Celiac disease, it's something that should occupy your thoughts - at least for a few minutes. 

Whether we like it or not, we all know that most hot dogs contain fillers and additives - from smoke flavors to "cereal" (no kidding). The question is: do these mystery ingredients contain gluten? The answer: sometimes. While some brands are very good about labeling (like Oscar Mayer and their parent company, Kraft) others are not (Ballpark and parent company Sara Lee will not confirm or deny the presence of gluten in their hot dogs; same with Hillshire Farms). While reading the labels is a great place to start, ingredients like "natural flavor" leave much to be desired in the full disclosure department. 

All that aside, there are many brands that openly and readily declare that their products are gluten free and/or dairy free, including Hebrew National, Applegate Farms, Diestel, Jenny-O and Aidell's.

For a more complete list of hot dogs and sausages and their gluten free/dairy free status, click here.

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