Are all Johnsonville sausages gluten-free?

When it comes to sausages, many people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease wonder if popular brands like Johnsonville offer gluten-free options. With more individuals adopting gluten-free diets for health or personal reasons, the demand for high-quality gluten-free sausages continues to grow.

The short answer is no, not all Johnsonville sausages are gluten-free. However, the company does offer several gluten-free sausage varieties to choose from.

What sausages from Johnsonville are gluten-free?

Currently, Johnsonville offers the following gluten-free sausage options:

  • Chicken Apple Sausage
  • Chicken Cheddar Sausage
  • Chicken Gouda Sausage
  • Chicken Spinach Feta Sausage
  • Italian Style Chicken Sausage
  • Chicken Fiesta Sausage
  • Chicken Breakfast Sausage

All of the above Johnsonville chicken sausage varieties are made without gluten-containing ingredients. The chicken and seasonings are combined in a casing to produce the final sausage product.

Certified gluten-free

In addition to being manufactured without gluten, Johnsonville chicken sausages are certified gluten-free to less than 10 parts per million by the Gluten Free Certification Organization (GFCO). The GFCO holds products to rigorous standards when testing for the presence of gluten.

This certification provides added assurance to gluten-sensitive consumers that Johnsonville chicken sausages are a safe and compliant gluten-free option.

What Johnsonville sausages contain gluten?

While the chicken sausages are gluten-free, Johnsonville uses gluten-containing ingredients in their traditional pork and beef sausage recipes. This includes varieties like:

  • Breakfast Sausage Links and Patties
  • Brats and Italian Sausage
  • Chorizo and Mexican Style Sausage
  • Hot Italian Sausage
  • Smoked and Fresh Sausage

In most cases, Johnsonville uses wheat flour in these pork and beef sausages. Wheat flour contains the proteins glutenin and gliadin, which when combined form gluten. Other typical sausage ingredients like rye, barley, malt extract, and beer can also contain gluten.

Not certified gluten-free

Since they are produced with wheat flour and possibly other gluten-containing ingredients, Johnsonville cannot label their traditional pork and beef sausages as gluten-free or certified gluten-free. Individuals following a strict gluten-free diet should avoid these sausage varieties and opt for the certified gluten-free chicken sausages instead.

What about other Johnsonville products?

In addition to fresh and frozen sausages, Johnsonville produces a range of other frozen entrées, side dishes, appetizers and breakfast foods. Only some of these products are labeled gluten-free.

For example, Johnsonville offers gluten-free varieties of:

  • Homestyle Breakfast Patties (pork and turkey)
  • Chicken Strips and Chicken Nuggets
  • Gluten Free Cheddar and Chicken Sausage Quesadilla

Be sure to always check the ingredient list and packaging labels carefully to confirm if a Johnsonville product is gluten-free or not. Unless it is specifically labeled “gluten-free,” assume the product contains gluten.

Is cross-contamination a risk with Johnsonville sausages?

When a product contains some gluten-free ingredients but is not certified gluten-free, cross-contamination during manufacturing can become a concern. Trace amounts of gluten could be introduced during processing, handling, or packaging.

However, with the Johnsonville chicken sausages certified gluten-free, consumers do not need to worry about cross-contamination. The company uses dedicated equipment and thoroughly cleans all surfaces to prevent any gluten cross-contact.

No shared lines or equipment

The certified gluten-free chicken sausages are produced first thing in the morning before any other products run on those lines. Separate equipment is used to blend the sausage and fill the casings. No gluten-containing ingredients are handled in that area of the plant either.

Verified controls in place

As part of the certification process, the GFCO inspects the Johnsonville facilities and manufacturing protocols. This independent verification ensures all required controls are in place to prevent cross-contamination for certified gluten-free items.

What precautions are taken by Johnsonville?

Johnsonville states that they take every precaution to keep gluten-containing ingredients out of their gluten-free foods. Here are some of the measures implemented:

  • Use dedicated equipment and separate production areas for gluten-free items
  • Schedule gluten-free products first thing after line startup and cleaning
  • Test equipment and surfaces for gluten before a gluten-free production run
  • Require employees to thoroughly wash hands and change gloves before handling gluten-free ingredients
  • Use color-coded utensils and clearly labeled ingredients for gluten-free production

Following these procedures allows Johnsonville to manufacture certified gluten-free chicken sausages with confidence.

Transparent about wheat flour use

For their traditional sausages containing wheat, Johnsonville is very transparent. The ingredient lists clearly state contains wheat flour or wheat protein. This helps gluten-free consumers easily identify which sausage varieties to avoid.

What about sausage toppings and sides?

In addition to the sausages themselves, individuals on a gluten-free diet also need to watch out for croutons, gravies, and other toppings that often accompany sausages.

For example, Johnsonville sells meal kits and entrées featuring sausages with gravy or crispy onions. Even their gluten-free chicken sausages may be paired with a gluten-containing accompaniment in these prepared foods. Always thoroughly read labels.

Gluten-free toppings

Some easy gluten-free toppings that pair nicely with gluten-free chicken sausages include:

  • Sautéed peppers and onions
  • Salsa
  • Avocado
  • Pesto
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Caramelized apples or pears

Think about preparing sauces and toppings yourself from scratch at home to avoid any hidden gluten ingredients.

How to identify gluten-free Johnsonville sausages

Here are some tips for spotting Johnsonville’s gluten-free sausages when shopping:

  • Look for the certified gluten-free seal from GFCO
  • Only choose chicken sausage varieties
  • Do not purchase pork or beef sausages
  • Check for wheat or wheat flour called out in ingredients
  • Verify no malt, rye, barley or obvious gluten grains in the ingredients
  • Look for the “gluten-free” label on packaging

Taking a couple extra minutes to carefully read sausage labels is an important step to stay gluten-free and avoid exposure to wheat protein.

Call company if unsure

If you come across a Johnsonville sausage product in stores or online that you’re unsure about in terms of gluten content, pick up the phone. The company has a toll-free number to call with any questions or concerns about ingredients or their gluten-free manufacturing processes.

What about eating out?

When eating sausages from a restaurant or foodservice establishment, additional precautions need to be taken. You will not have an ingredients label to review.

Be very explicit that you need a gluten-free menu and preparation area. Ask detailed questions about how the sausages are cooked and what toppings are included. Do not be afraid to ask plenty of questions to ensure your gluten-free diet is accommodated.

Higher risk

There is always an increased likelihood of cross-contamination when eating out. Sausage grills may be shared, utensils contaminated, unclear communication with the kitchen staff, etc. Proceed with caution when ordering sausages in restaurants.

Safer choices

Your safest restaurant bets are grilled chicken sausages with dry spice rubs or fresh accompaniments like salsa or avocado. Avoid sauced dishes or sausages that seem breaded unless the restaurant can confirm a certified gluten-free preparation.

Tips for cooking gluten-free Johnsonville sausages

Gluten-free Johnsonville chicken sausages are fully-cooked so they make an easy, quick meal any time. Here are some serving ideas:

  • Breakfast – Add to a gluten-free egg sandwich or breakfast burrito
  • Lunch – Slice on top of a salad or roast veggie bowl
  • Dinner – Grill or pan-fry and serve with roasted potatoes and vegetables
  • Snack – Enjoy with gluten-free crackers or dip

When cooking, be sure to avoid cross-contamination in your gluten-free kitchen. Use designated pans and utensils. Clean all prep surfaces thoroughly as well.

Grilling tips

For best grilling results, Johnsonville recommends:

  • Use a lightly oiled grate to prevent sticking
  • Cook over medium indirect heat, turning occasionally
  • Move sausages to direct heat at the end to brown evenly
  • Cook until internal temperature reaches 160°F

With some creativity in the kitchen, Johnsonville gluten-free chicken sausages can be enjoyed in endless quick, delicious ways.

Nutrition facts for Johnsonville gluten-free sausages

One of the benefits of the Johnsonville gluten-free chicken sausages is they provide a good source of protein without too many calories or fat:

Sausage Variety Calories Fat (g) Carbs (g) Protein (g)
Italian Style Chicken 90 3.5 2 12
Chicken Apple 90 3.5 2 13
Chicken Fiesta 100 5 2 12

With minimal calories and net carbs, the gluten-free chicken sausages can fit into many different diet plans beyond just a gluten-free diet. The lean protein keeps you feeling fuller longer too.

No fillers

Unlike some sausage products loaded with fillers, Johnsonville gluten-free chicken sausages contain no grains, soy, MSG or artificial colors/flavors. They stick to simple, clean ingredients.

The takeaway on Johnsonville gluten-free sausages

When shopping for gluten-free sausages, Johnsonville offers several compliant options among their chicken sausage line. Just be sure to double-check labels since not all Johnsonville products are gluten-free.

Opt for the certified gluten-free chicken sausages to avoid any risk of cross-contamination with wheat or other gluten sources. These sausages make it easy for those with celiac disease or on a gluten-free diet to enjoy the flavor and convenience of sausage.

Johnsonville provides delicious gluten-free sausages you can feel good about eating!

Leave a Comment