Gluten Free Mars (North America)

Mars are one of the biggest candy and chocolate producers in the States so I contacted them to ask about the gluten free status of their products. Mars UK had emailed me a list of their ‘safe’ products so I figured that their North American counterparts were likely to do the same…..

Snickers are gluten free!

UPDATE: Jan, 2015

MARS USA still do not have a gluten-free product list. This is not cool, MARS! Until you have a list of safe products, gluten-free folks will be looking elsewhere for a treat.

UPDATE (13th Feb, 2012) Today I called Mars USA and spoke to a real person. It appears that their recorded gluten free product list is no longer. I wasn’t filled with much confidence and I must say that I will not be eating Mars products in the US any time soon. The woman I spoke to said they couldn’t provide me with a gluten free list as products change too often!?! She also said she could only check on the gluten free status of single products rather than going through a whole list of what is safe. When I asked her about cross contamination, etc her responses were not clear and I don’t think she was completely sure how serious the issue is. She basically said that if someone is really concerned then they should call their helpline. Their number is 1-800-627-7852. Please let me know if you have more success than me.

My email to Mars North America:

I am Coeliac and therefore can only eat gluten free products. I live in Scotland but will be travelling throughout the United States this summer and was wondering whether you could provide me with a list of your products, which are safe for me to eat? Thanks, Laura

Their response was unhelpful to say the least…

Dear Ms. Emmerson,

In response to your email regarding MARS CHOCOLATE NORTH AMERICA.

Thank you for your email.

The ingredient statement on each wrapper is the best source for this information. The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network advises consumers to rely on ingredient labels, not lists that can become outdated when products change.

Please feel free to contact us at 1-800-627-7852 if you have any specific product questions.

Have a great day!

Your Friends at Mars Chocolate North America

Oh, of course, my friends, I can just look at the label. Why didn’t I think of that? Erm?!!? I guess I won’t be eating any Mars candy this summer! I do find it strange that Mars in the UK were able to provide me with a list of which products are safe for coeliacs.

UPDATE (07/07/2010): I called Mars North America to ask one of their customer service people if they could provide me with any further information on Mars’ gluten free products since their email suggestion of reading the label isn’t something I feel comfortable relying on.

I was surprised and impressed that I was able to get the information I was looking for without even speaking to a real person, especially after the crapppy email response. A recorded message said to press 3 for information on products that do not contain peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, gelatin or gluten. The following message then said to press 1 for a list of products that do not contain gluten.

The following products do not contain gluten…all m&m’s products, all milkyway products with the exception of the milkyway bar, snickers and snickers dark bars, all dove chocolate products, munch bar. As always please read the label for the most accurate information.”

I’m not sure why they couldn’t have provided me with this list in their email but at least now I have the information. I’m guessing that by all m&m’s they mean with the exception of the new pretzel ones…

UPDATE (13th Feb, 2012) Today I called Mars USA and spoke to a real person. It appears that their recorded gluten free product list is no longer. I wasn’t filled with much confidence and I must say that I will not be eating Mars products in the US any time soon. The woman I spoke to said they couldn’t provide me with a gluten free list as products change too often!?! She also said she could only check on the gluten free status of single products rather than going through a whole list of what is safe. When I asked her about cross contamination, etc her responses were not clear and I don’t think she was completely sure how serious the issue is. She basically said that if someone is really concerned then they should call their helpline. Their number is 1-800-627-7852. Please let me know if you have more success than me.

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Comments

  • i believe they contain gluten in trace amounts, so don’t overdo it

  • I am extremely, extremely careful about all Mars products. When we moved overseas I found out that they are fairly dishonest/misleading about their packaging process. For example, over here their bars are technically gluten-free, but the molds they use are coated in flour to prevent sticking. Eating a Galaxy bar made me very sick. I say this as a celiac who isn’t very sensitive. On that particular bar, gluten wasn’t listed with the potential allergens, but after I got sick I found microscopic print that said something like, “manufactured in a plant where wheat is present” – so the same package says it is gluten free and not gluten free, at the same time. Their manufacturing varies from location to location… and they aren’t very forthright about it.

    Last time I ate a package of mini M&Ms that was manufactured in the middle east, I was in the bathroom for two days. I’m pretty anti-Mars these days. 🙁 Which is sad because I *love* the Bounty bars.

  • @Wendy. Where in the world are you? The UK or the US?From my experience it’s always best to check with the manufacturer in the country you are in to discover if the products they make are safe. It seems so silly that Mars products in one country could be safe and then not safe in another but sadly this appears to be the case. 🙂

    You say the molds they use contain flour to prevent sticking? That’s terrifying! Where is this? I must contact MARS UK to see what they have to say. I eat Snickers and Butterfinger bars in the US from time to time and I’ve been fine but I can’t remember the last time I ate their products in the UK. More research is needed..

  • Wait, I guess I did already contact Mars UK. How could I have forgotten?!? 🙂

    http://glutenfreetraveller.com/is-that-gluten-free/mars-celebrations-gluten-free/

  • It’s ridiculous how hard some companies make it to find out what if gluten free. You’d think they would want people to buy their products if they’re safe or care about their customers if they’re not?? Sighhh

  • Agreed, Kate. If they don’t help us out then we aren’t going to buy their products. How silly of them! They are losing customers. I find both Mars and Hershey’s to be very frustrating to communicate with. Clearly people on gluten free diets (and there are a lot of us) are not people they care about. I’ll Sighhh with you 🙂

  • I just found out I’m a celiac. I’m 17, live in the Southern United States, and I’m extremely sensitive. I took a bite of a protein bar that was produced in a facility that processes wheat and was sick all night. I thought you might be interested to know that we’ve passed laws requiring allergy information to be listed on packaging. This is the law text. (It’s long, but if you use Ctrl+F, you’ll notice they mention celiac disease! Everybody has to label all their stuff now or we can sue them 🙂 http://www.fda.gov/food/labelingnutrition/FoodAllergensLabeling/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/ucm106187.htm

  • Sorry Erin, check a bit more. The Act you refer to was from 2004. as of December 2012, FDA has still not got their act together and pushed for legislation regarding allergen labeling on foods. In addition FDA in their wisdom? only count wheat as an allergen and not gluten. Far too many of the largest food manufacturers, and Kraft is one of the worse, only pay lip service to correct labeling. they told me they follow FDA food labeling allergen guidelines and then in the same phone call said with 10,000 products they can’t change labels as they change ingredients. my Fb gluten free cooking with oonagh and blog http://www.royaltemptations.com/blog has 2 years of my monthly recipe column for National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, plus articles, reviews etc. Plus as a brit based in USA I try to give imperial and metric quantities, plus different names for British ingredients v. American.

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