Gluten-free diets have become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more people eliminating gluten for medical or lifestyle reasons. For those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, finding safe and tasty gluten-free bread options is a must. Sara Lee is a major manufacturer of bread and baked goods, but do they offer any gluten-free varieties? In this article, we’ll take a close look at Sara Lee’s product lineup and labeling to find out if they currently sell any certified gluten-free breads.
About Sara Lee
Sara Lee is an American food processing and manufacturing company known primarily for its diverse lineup of baked goods. They produce breads, buns, bagels, desserts, pastries and more. Some of Sara Lee’s most popular bread brands include Sara Lee Original Made with Whole Grain White Bread, Sara Lee Soft & Smooth Whole Grain White Bread, Sara Lee 100% Whole Wheat Bread, and Sara Lee Bakery Brioche Style Buns. The company was founded in 1939 and has grown into one of the largest food manufacturers in the U.S. Sara Lee sells their products through major grocery chains and retailers nationwide.
Sara Lee’s Stance on Gluten and Allergens
On their website, Sara Lee provides information on their approach to managing allergens like gluten, soy, dairy, eggs, tree nuts and more in their production facilities. They state:
“Sara Lee Frozen Bakery has strict standards and practices in place to prevent allergen cross-contact in our facilities. Allergens like wheat, milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and soybeans are handled separately from non-allergenic ingredients through our manufacturing process.”
However, while they have precautions in place to reduce cross-contact risks, Sara Lee also clearly states that their products are produced in facilities that handle wheat, milk, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, fish and soy and thus have a risk of allergen cross-contact. So those with celiac disease or severe gluten allergies are advised to avoid all Sara Lee products.
Does Sara Lee Offer Any Gluten-Free Breads?
After thoroughly reviewing Sara Lee’s website including their product details, nutritional info and allergen statements, it appears that Sara Lee currently does not offer any certified gluten-free bread options. All of their breads and buns contain wheat flour or other gluten-containing grains like barley and rye.
While they may be wheat-free, none of Sara Lee’s bread products are certified gluten-free or tested to verify they meet the FDA requirements of less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. Those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity are advised to avoid all Sara Lee breads at this time.
Sara Lee Gluten-Free Recall History
In the past, Sara Lee did offer some gluten-free bread options. In particular, from 2012-2014 they sold a line of gluten-free breads including white, multigrain, cinnamon raisin and honey wheat varieties. However, these products ended up being subject to major voluntary recalls after testing revealed they contained dangerous undeclared levels of gluten that exceeded the FDA limit of less than 20 ppm.
Here are details on Sara Lee’s gluten-free bread recalls:
August 2014 Recall
In August 2014, Sara Lee issued a voluntary recall for over 7,000 cases of gluten-free sliced bread sold under the Sara Lee, Kroger, Great Value, Food Lion, and Harris Teeter brands. These breads were recalled after sample testing showed elevated gluten levels up to 27 ppm. The affected UPC codes and “Best By” dates for this recall were:
|Brand||Product Name||UPC Code||Best By Date|
|Sara Lee||Gluten Free White Bread – 20 oz||0 18726 01405 6||AUG 11 2014|
|Sara Lee||Gluten Free Multi-Grain Bread – 20 oz||0 18726 01415 2||AUG 12 2014|
|Kroger||Gluten Free Sliced Bread – 20 oz||0 11110 93982 0||AUG 13 2014|
December 2013 Recall
Previously in December 2013, Sara Lee issued two recalls for their line of gluten-free bread products after testing showed elevated levels of gluten beyond 20 ppm. This affected over 13,000 cases of bread sold under the Sara Lee and other brand names. The specific products and date codes involved in this earlier recall were:
|Brand||Product Name||UPC Code||Best By Date|
|Sara Lee||Gluten Free White Bread – 20 oz||0 18726 01405 6||JAN 08 2014|
|Sara Lee||Gluten Free Honey Wheat Bread – 20 oz||0 18726 01406 3||JAN 12 2014|
|Sara Lee||Gluten Free Multi-Grain Bread – 20 oz||0 18726 01415 2||JAN 13 2014|
|Sara Lee||Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread – 20 oz||0 18726 01403 2||JAN 13 2014|
Are Any Sara Lee Products Gluten-Free?
While none of their breads are gluten-free, Sara Lee does offer some gluten-free friendly products that are produced without wheat, barley, rye or oats and are not at high risk for cross-contact. Examples of Sara Lee gluten-free products include:
- Sara Lee Cherry and Creme Cakes
- Sara Lee Pound Cakes
- Sara Lee All Butter Loaf Cake
- Sara Lee Soft and Smooth Cream Cheese
However, it’s important to note that Sara Lee does not label these as “gluten-free” or confirm they meet the FDA gluten-free standards. Those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should use caution with any Sara Lee products and contact the company directly with any questions or concerns.
Gluten-Free Sara Lee Alternatives
While Sara Lee currently does not offer certified gluten-free breads, there are many other great options available from gluten-free specialty brands such as:
- Canyon Bakehouse
- Against the Grain
- Little Northern Bakehouse
- Three Bakers
- Whole Foods 365 Gluten Free
These brands offer a wide variety of gluten-free bread types including white, whole grain, multigrain, seeded, rye, bagels and buns. They can be found in most well-stocked grocery stores, health food markets and online. Gluten-free watchdogs like Gluten Free Watchdog also regularly test products from Canyon Bakehouse, Schar and others to ensure they maintain gluten safety.
The Bottom Line
In summary, Sara Lee does not currently offer any gluten-free breads that are certified to meet the FDA gluten-free standards. All of their breads contain gluten-containing grains and are at high risk for cross-contact. Sara Lee issued major gluten-free bread recalls in 2013 and 2014 after elevated gluten levels were detected through testing.
While Sara Lee says they take precautions against cross-contact, their products are made in shared facilities with wheat and other allergens. So those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities should avoid all Sara Lee bread products at this time.
Thankfully, there are many dedicated gluten-free brands offering certified gluten-free breads that are widely available in stores and online. With some careful label reading and research, finding great gluten-free bread options is definitely possible even without Sara Lee.