Nerds are a pretty popular candy, especially around Halloween, but are nerds candy gluten-free and safe to eat for those with celiac?
It's almost Halloween, and that means all the little pieces of candy are being stocked up and getting ready to be passed out to all the kids. When you have kids with food sensitivities and allergies, it's important to know which candy is safe for them to eat and which ones are not. Nerds have always been a favorite for my kids, but after going gluten-free, we started to wonder if nerds candy was safe to eat for someone on a gluten-free diet.
Who makes nerds?
Nerds are currently (as of 2022) made by the Ferrara Candy Company. The company bought out Nestle in 2019. This purchase included several candy brands, including Sweetarts, Black Forest, Laffy Taffy, Fun Dip, Pixi Stix, Nerds, and many more.
Ingredients in Nerds.
According to the packaging, the ingredients in nerds are dextrose, sugar, malic acid, corn syrup, natural flavors, carnauba wax, carmine color, blue 1 lake, blue 1, blue 2 lake, red 40 lake, yellow 5, yellow 6, gum acacia.
So are nerds gluten-free?
According to the ingredients, it might be hard to tell. Most people associate malic acid with malt (which is not gluten-free). However, malic acid is actually derived from unripe apples and is gluten-free. The next ingredient that could be gluten is the presence of natural flavors. Sometimes, this ingredient can be derived from gluten grains, usually barley.
If you notice the package has an allergy statement that says, "may contain eggs." It does not say it may contain wheat. The packaging also does not state that it was produced on lines that also process wheat.
So by the package, nerds should be gluten-free.
What do the Ferrara and Nerds brands say about labeling allergens?
According to Ferrara, "Product manufactured and/or packaged on lines in which other products containing any of the "Big 8" will contain an allergen statement. Allergens listed explicitly in the ingredients may not be listed dually in the allergen statement. For every Ferrara product that contains allergens, we list a CONTAINS statement immediately following the ingredient list on all of our packages, which clearly indicates which allergens are present. If there is no CONTAINS statement following the ingredient list, then the product has no allergens. Additionally, however, Ferrara uses a MADE IN statement, which reflects any allergens within the manufacturing facility where the product is made out of an abundance of caution for those concerned with allergies." (https://www.ferrarausa.com/faq.html)
The company also states that any changes made to the ingredients or manufacturing are noted on the packaging as changes are made, So it's best always to check the package to ensure that the batch is gluten-free.
What about the nerds' gummy clusters or the nerd ropes?
According to the company, nerds gummy clusters are glute-free by ingredients. However, they have a statement that says, "This product was manufactured in a facility where milk, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soy are used in the production of other products."
This means that the possibility of cross-contamination during processing could make the nerds gummy clusters not gluten-free.
On the other hand, the nerds ropes only say that they may contain eggs. This makes the safer of the two options if you want something besides the traditional nerds and still stay gluten-free.
In conclusion, are nerds safe to eat on a gluten-free diet?
Yes, nerds candy is considered gluten-free and safe for those to eat on a gluten-free diet. Always check the individual packing for any possible ingredient or manufacturing changes that could make them not gluten-free.
If you want something more fun, opt for the nerds rope instead of the nerds gummy clusters.
Are you wondering about others?
Check out and see if some of your other favorite candies are actually gluten-free. If you don't see your favorite and aren't sure, drop me a comment below, and I'll look into it for you.
Feel free to share this article with friends and family to help more people know how to help keep loved ones gluten-free.