By Charmaine Dymond
When I was first diagnosed with celiac, the potato chip situation was a little grim. But these days, thankfully — though my waistline might not agree — there’s no shortage of options for gluten free chips. Wondering what’s safe? Here’s the lowdown for fellow potato chip lovers in Canada.
Frito-Lay Canada makes chips under several popular brands, including Lay’s, Doritos, Cheetos, Tostitos and Ruffles. The company maintains a list of its gluten free products online, separating products into two categories:
- products that are gluten free with certification from the Canadian Celiac Association (CCA) and
- products that do not contain gluten, but may be at risk of cross-contamination, and are not certified gluten free.
The list also carries a warning that it may not be up to date — and when we checked, it wasn’t. Many Ruffles brand chips, for example, carry the CCA gluten free label, but are not included in that category on this list.
Not all flavours of Lay’s, Doritos and Ruffles are certified gluten free, but most are. The flavours that are gluten free are clearly labelled with the CCA certification, so check the label before you dig in.
As for Cheetos and Tostitos — or any Frito-Lay product without CCA certification — even if there is no gluten listed in the ingredients, there is a chance of cross-contamination during production. A customer service rep told us the production lines are cleaned thoroughly between uses.
Old Dutch Foods makes chips under the Old Dutch, Dutch Crunch and Humpty Dumpty brands. Their packaging says these chips are gluten free, although they do not carry the CCA certification.
A customer service rep told us that their chips are made on production lines that also process gluten, but that the lines are cleaned thoroughly between uses and are tested regularly to make sure gluten levels are below 20 ppm. Any ingredients containing gluten will be listed clearly on the label.
A customer service rep at President’s Choice was unable to specify which of the company’s chips are gluten free; she told us she would need the barcode of a specific product in order to check.
All Kettle Brand chips are certified gluten free and made in a gluten free environment.
All chips from New Brunswick’s Covered Bridge are labelled as certified gluten free. A customer service rep told us this certification was done by Health Canada. As well, their facilities are gluten free and they regularly test for gluten levels.
The Final Word
The best place to look for accurate information is on the label of your bag of chips. Remember, though, that even if the label doesn’t identify gluten as an ingredient, there is still the possibility of cross-contamination. Your safest option is to stick with chips that are certified gluten free.