Green & Blacks Gluten Free

Green & Black's

Today I found myself wondering whether Green and Blacks chocolate is gluten free. It’s a brand I sort of forget about for a while then remember when I see it in a store or a friend offers me a chunk. This time I decided to do some research so that I know whether or not I can eat it next time the opportunity arises. I was always a big fan of their butterscotch chocolate bar in pre celiac days. And their ice cream, especially the one with caramel and hazelnuts! But is it safe for me to eat now? Is Green and Blacks Chocolate Gluten Free?

If you’re in the UK or Ireland  you can look at their nutrition page for a list of which products contain gluten and other allergens. It appears that most of them do not contain gluten. According to this list it’s only their biscuits which contain gluten, none of their bars or ice creams. Fantastic! The packaging of some of their products states ‘ May contain traces of cereals’ which sounds as though there may be possible cross contamination issues. I emailed Green & Blacks UK. This is the response I got.

All Green & Black’s chocolate is made on a site which uses cereals (rice, oat, wheat, barley and rye flours) and we therefore cannot guarantee that our products are free from gluten traces as there is a small risk of cross contamination.

‘Manufactured in a factory that handles cereal ingredients’ is the statement that you will find printed on the majority of our bars. However, we have recently moved to an alternative allergen labelling and will be using ‘Contains’ statements for products where allergens are included within the recipe for that product and ‘May Contain’ when that allergen is present in the factory environment and therefore there is a risk of cross contact. Therefore, to represent the risks of possible cross contamination of gluten within a non gluten-containing product, the following statement will now be used on newer versions of the wrapper, which you may have spotted already on the shelves:

 ‘May Contain traces of cereal.’

I would like to take this opportunity to outline for you the procedures we have in place to minimise the risks of gluten cross contamination in the factory. We take into account the scheduling of wheat containing products and we clean the lines by flushing chocolate through until there is no trace of the previous lines chocolate in the new batch. We are confident that this procedure significantly reduces traces from previous production, although as I’m sure you can appreciate, the only certain guarantee of absence would be on a gluten-free site.

For those of you in Canada, the nutrition page suggests that all of the products they sell in Canada do not contain gluten.

As usual the US version of their site makes it much more confusing for consumers to figure out whether or not their products are safe for them to eat. From reading the label the ingredients appear to be the same as those in the UK and nothing throws up a red flag. Again, whilst they probably don’t contain gluten ingredients they may be affected by cross contamination and I would recommend calling them just to be on the safe side.

 

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Comments

  • Just wanted to leave an update here for the curious (especially since this is the first Google result for ‘green and black’s gluten’) — the US version of the FAQ now states about the same information as the email you got from the UK branch.

    “Although some of our products are made without nut, cereal or milk ingredients, they are produced in a factory that handles them. We take all precautions to minimize the risks of cross contamination with these ingredients.

    We take into account scheduling of products and we clean the lines by flushing chocolate through until there is no notable trace of the previous lines’ chocolate in the new batch. We are confident that the cleaning procedures are robust and eliminate traces of nut, cereal or dairy ingredients, but the only certain guarantee of absence is by manufacturing in a nut, cereal and dairy free site. Therefore we use the above statement to ensure consumers are fully informed about our products.”

    Since US law requires packaging to identify shared sites regardless of precautions (or lack thereof), I usually steer clear of anything that denotes a shared facility without more info. What they’ve said is enough to set my mind at ease. Also, it’s labeled as being manufactured in Italy, so I suspect they have a single manufacturing site and ship that internationally.

    I can also say I’ve been eating it for some time without any ill effect (beyond the normal impact of chocolate consumption on my weight, at least!). So readers may feel free to take that in accordance with whatever credence they give to statements from random strangers on the internet.

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