Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye. For people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, consuming gluten can cause negative health effects. Many restaurants offer gluten-free menu options to accommodate customers who need to avoid gluten.
Yes, the tortilla chips served at Chipotle are certified gluten-free. Chipotle uses non-GMO corn to make their tortilla chips and prepares them in facilities that do not process wheat or gluten. So customers with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity can safely enjoy Chipotle’s tortilla chips.
Are Corn Tortilla Chips Naturally Gluten-Free?
Corn tortilla chips are naturally gluten-free because corn does not contain gluten. Gluten is only found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye. So tortilla chips made from corn are inherently gluten-free.
However, cross-contamination is still a concern in facilities that produce both gluten-containing and gluten-free foods. Trace amounts of gluten can get into gluten-free foods if they are produced in shared facilities.
How Chipotle Keeps Its Chips Gluten-Free
To prevent cross-contamination, Chipotle takes the following precautions with its tortilla chips:
- Uses non-GMO corn, a gluten-free grain
- Produces the chips in facilities isolated from wheat/gluten
- Fries the chips in rice bran oil in dedicated fryers
- Serves the chips with dedicated utensils
These steps help ensure no trace amounts of gluten come into contact with the chips during production or service.
Chipotle’s Certification Process
In addition to safety precautions, Chipotle puts its tortilla chips through a certification process to verify their gluten-free status. The process involves:
- Testing the corn ingredients for gluten before production
- Testing the finished chips for gluten after production
- Re-testing the chips periodically to confirm they remain gluten-free
This rigorous testing allows Chipotle to confidently claim its tortilla chips are certified gluten-free. The chips are tested to contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. Foods with less than 20 ppm gluten are considered gluten-free.
What Menu Items Are Also Gluten-Free at Chipotle?
In addition to tortilla chips, Chipotle offers these certified gluten-free menu items:
|Cilantro-lime rice, brown rice
|Pinto beans, black beans
|Chicken, steak, carnitas, barbacoa, sofritas (tofu)
|Salsas & More
|Fresh tomato salsa, roasted chili-corn salsa, tomatillo salsa, tomatillo-green chili salsa, tomatillo-red chili salsa, sour cream
|Romaine lettuce, salad blend
With these ingredients, customers can build entirely gluten-free burrito bowls, salads, tacos, and more to enjoy at Chipotle. Just hold the tortilla.
Are Flour Tortillas at Chipotle Gluten-Free?
No, the flour tortillas served at Chipotle are not gluten-free. Flour tortillas contain wheat flour, which has gluten. So these tortillas are not safe for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
Chipotle does not offer any certified gluten-free tortilla options. Corn tortillas would be gluten-free, but Chipotle’s corn tortillas are produced in facilities with wheat and do not currently have gluten-free certification.
Is Chipotle Cilantro-Lime Rice Gluten-Free?
Yes, Chipotle’s cilantro-lime rice is certified gluten-free. It is made with only rice, water, lime juice, and cilantro – none of which contain gluten. And it is prepared in Chipotle facilities isolated from gluten exposure.
Chipotle’s brown rice is also certified gluten-free. So both rice options can be safely enjoyed on a gluten-free Chipotle meal.
Can Sauce Contaminate Gluten-Free Orders?
Chipotle prepares its gluten-free menu items in isolation from wheat/gluten ingredients to prevent cross-contamination from tortillas and flour. However, the sauces are produced in shared facilities and may pose a low risk of gluten exposure.
The corn salsa, chili salsa, and tomatillo green chili salsa are considered gluten-free to less than 20 ppm. But Chipotle advises those highly sensitive should avoid the shared lines and utensils used for flour tortillas and other gluten-containing ingredients.
Chipotle goes to great lengths to offer menu items that are safe for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Their tortilla chips are certified gluten-free and prepared with isolated equipment to prevent cross-contamination. Components like rice, beans, salsas, chicken, steak, and more are also gluten-free to allow for customized orders.
Just avoid the flour tortillas offered at Chipotle. While corn tortillas would be gluten-free, Chipotle’s current manufacturing process does not allow them to guarantee gluten-free status. But overall, there are ample gluten-free options for delicious and safe meals at Chipotle.