Is Banquet Salisbury steak gluten free?

Gluten free diets have become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more people choosing to avoid gluten for medical reasons or simply as a lifestyle choice. For those following a gluten free diet, checking labels and understanding ingredients is crucial to ensure you are not accidentally consuming gluten. With so many products on the market containing gluten, it can be tricky to know for sure if a particular food is safe to eat or not.

One such product where the gluten free status may be unclear is Banquet Salisbury steak. Salisbury steak is essentially a type of seasoned hamburger patty, often served with gravy. Banquet is a popular frozen food brand, with a range of frozen meal products. So is Banquet’s Salisbury steak gluten free? Let’s take a detailed look at the ingredients and manufacturing process to find out.

What is gluten and why do people avoid it?

Before examining whether Banquet Salisbury steak contains gluten, it helps to understand exactly what gluten is and why some people need to avoid it.

Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale. It acts as a glue that helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a binding agent. Gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping baked goods rise and keep their shape. It also gives a chewy texture to products like bread and pasta.

For most people, gluten does not cause any issues or negative health effects. However, for those with certain medical conditions like celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, gluten can cause serious health problems. When someone who is sensitive to gluten eats it, it can damage the small intestine and prevent proper absorption of nutrients. Symptoms may include bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, tiredness, skin rashes and more.

The only treatment for celiac disease is strictly and completely avoiding gluten. For non-celiac gluten sensitivity, a gluten free diet may help manage symptoms. With gluten lurking in many processed foods, following a gluten free diet can be challenging. Reading every ingredient label diligently is a must.

Key things to look for to identify gluten ingredients

When evaluating whether a food product contains gluten or not, there are some key things to look for:

  • Wheat – Wheat contains gluten, so any products listing wheat or wheat flour contain gluten.
  • Barley – Barley is a gluten-containing grain.
  • Rye – Rye is another gluten-containing grain.
  • Malt – Malt is usually derived from barley and contains gluten.
  • Oats – Oats themselves do not contain gluten, but are often contaminated with wheat or barley. Look for labels specifying gluten free oats.
  • Flavorings/seasonings – These vague terms may hide gluten. Call the manufacturer to find out details.
  • Modified food starch – Can be made from wheat, so double check.
  • Soy sauce – Most soy sauces contain wheat.
  • Breading/batter – Often contains glutenous flour.
  • Stabilizers/thickeners – May contain gluten.

Being diligent about looking for and avoiding these and any other suspicious ingredients is key for those avoiding gluten. Now, let’s take a look at the Banquet Salisbury steak ingredients specifically.

Banquet Salisbury steak ingredients

Taking a close look at the ingredients list on a package of Banquet Salisbury steak can help shed light on whether it is gluten free or not. Here are the full ingredients in a Banquet Salisbury steak frozen meal:

  • Salisbury steak (beef, water, textured soy protein concentrate, soy protein concentrate, dried egg whites, flavorings, corn syrup solids, dehydrated onions)
  • Gravy mix [modified food starch, wheat flour, salt, monosodium glutamate, caramel color, dehydrated parsley]
  • Mashed potatoes (dehydrated potatoes, hydrogenated soybean oil, salt, disodium dihydrogen pyrophosphate, sodium acid pyrophosphate, butter [cream, salt], artificial flavor, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, sodium caseinate, dried parsley)
  • Whole kernel corn (corn, water, sugar, salt)
  • Dessert (corn syrup, sugar, contains 2% or less of water, palm kernel and hydrogenated palm oil, soy protein concentrate, modified food starch, mono & diglycerides, artificial flavor, polysorbate 60, sodium alginate, salt, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, artificial color, vitamin A palmitate added.

Key gluten ingredients

Looking closely at the ingredients list, there are two concerning ingredients when it comes to gluten:

  • Wheat flour – This is clearly called out in the gravy mix ingredients. Wheat flour contains gluten.
  • Modified food starch – In the dessert ingredients. The source is not specified, so potentially could be made from wheat.

Just the presence of these two ingredients would indicate that no, Banquet’s Salisbury steak TV dinner is not gluten free. The wheat flour especially is an obvious red flag. However, let’s keep exploring.

How Banquet addresses gluten content

In addition to analyzing the ingredients list, it’s always a good idea to look at how the manufacturer addresses gluten. Many companies will call out “gluten free” on the packaging if a product does not contain gluten. Others may address it on their website or provide details if you contact them directly.

In the case of Banquet Salisbury steak, neither the packaging nor the website makes any gluten free claims. Additionally, if you contact Banquet customer service and ask whether the product is gluten free, they state that no, it does contain wheat and barley-based ingredients and is therefore not gluten free.

This confirms that based on both the ingredient list and the manufacturer details, Banquet Salisbury steak is not gluten free.

Risk of cross-contamination

Even if a product does not directly contain gluten-based ingredients, there can still be a risk of cross-contamination during manufacturing. Trace amounts of gluten could make their way into the product if it is produced in a shared facility.

When asked about the risk of cross-contamination, Banquet states that they follow all FDA guidelines to minimize cross-contamination risks. However, they do not make any guarantees that products are completely free of cross-contamination. So there would still be some risk of trace gluten exposure.

What about the gravy?

Since the gravy mix is one part of the Salisbury steak meal that clearly contains gluten, one question that arises is whether the meat patty itself is gluten free if eaten without the gravy.

Unfortunately Banquet states that they do not prepare or package the patty and gravy separately during manufacturing. So even if you avoided the gravy, the patty itself may still pick up traces of gluten during processing.

Advice for those avoiding gluten

Based on all the available information, Banquet Salisbury steak is not considered gluten free. The ingredient list, lack of gluten free labeling by the manufacturer, and risk of cross-contamination mean it is not advised for those following gluten free diets.

Some key takeaways to keep in mind when assessing any product’s gluten free status:

  • Carefully read all ingredients and watch out for any gluten sources
  • Look for any gluten free labeling by the manufacturer
  • Contact the company directly if you are still uncertain
  • Be aware that even if a product seems gluten free, cross-contamination is still possible depending on manufacturing

When in doubt, it is best to avoid a questionable product and opt for something certified gluten free instead. Thankfully there are more and more gluten free options available today, including substitutes for popular foods like Salisbury steak.

Gluten free Salisbury steak options

While Banquet’s Salisbury steak is off limits for gluten free diets, there are some good alternatives to look for, including:

  • Gluten Free Pantry – makes a gluten free Salisbury steak frozen meal
  • Omaha Steaks – gluten free Salisbury steak available by mail order
  • Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad boxed kits – look for the gluten free label
  • Make your own at home – from gluten free beef, eggs, and seasonings

Carefully checking ingredient labels, contacting manufacturers, and being aware of cross-contamination risks are key when deciding if a food is gluten free friendly. While Banquet’s Salisbury steak is convenient, it does contain gluten according to the available information. But some effort to find or create a gluten free option can allow those avoiding gluten to still enjoy a satisfying Salisbury steak.

Bottom line

Here is a quick summary of the key points on whether Banquet Salisbury steak contains gluten:

  • Banquet Salisbury steak contains wheat flour and possibly other gluten sources according to the ingredients
  • The manufacturer does not claim the product is gluten free
  • There is risk of cross-contamination during manufacturing
  • The meal components are not packaged separately
  • Banquet states the product contains gluten and is not recommended for gluten free diets
  • Some safer gluten free Salisbury steak alternatives are available

So in summary, no Banquet Salisbury steak does not appear to be gluten free based on the available information. People with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should avoid this product and select a certified gluten free option instead when looking to enjoy a Salisbury steak meal.

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