Is Godiva flourless chocolate cheesecake gluten-free?

Gluten-free diets have become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more people opting to avoid gluten for medical reasons or simply as a lifestyle choice. For those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, sticking to a strict gluten-free diet is essential to managing symptoms and overall health. For others, eliminating gluten is seen as a way to generally feel better or lose weight. Either way, more consumers are looking for gluten-free options when dining out or buying packaged foods from the grocery store. This leads many to wonder: Is Godiva’s flourless chocolate cheesecake really gluten-free? Let’s take a look at the ingredients and manufacturing process to find out.

What is gluten and why do some people need to avoid it?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. It acts as a glue that helps baked goods maintain their shape and texture. For most people, consuming gluten is not a problem. However, for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, gluten triggers an abnormal immune response that damages the small intestine. This can lead to symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, fatigue, and more. The only treatment is to completely avoid all foods and products containing gluten. Even tiny amounts can cause issues for those who are truly gluten intolerant or allergic.

It’s important to note that a wheat allergy is different than gluten intolerance. A wheat allergy causes an IgE-mediated immune response to all forms of wheat, while gluten intolerance is specifically triggered by the gluten protein component. Those with a wheat allergy must also strictly avoid wheat, while some gluten-free products actually contain other parts of the wheat grain. Diagnosis of celiac disease or wheat allergy requires specific medical testing.

What makes a food product gluten-free?

For a product to legally be labelled as “gluten-free” in the United States, it must contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. This trace amount is generally considered safe for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Products containing between 20-100 ppm can be labelled as “very low gluten.” Anything above 100 ppm cannot be labelled as gluten-free or low gluten.

A gluten-free claim means that a product inherently does not contain any gluten-containing ingredients, such as wheat, barley, rye or malt. It also signifies that measures were taken to avoid any cross-contamination with these ingredients during manufacturing and processing. This requires strict protocols for equipment cleaning, facility sanitation, employee training, and ingredient sourcing. Many facilities actually go above and beyond the 20 ppm limit to provide an extra margin of safety for sensitive consumers.

What ingredients are in Godiva’s flourless chocolate cheesecake?

According to Godiva’s website, the flourless chocolate cheesecake consists of the following ingredients:

  • Cream cheese
  • Sugar
  • Sour cream
  • Eggs
  • Heavy cream
  • Vanilla extract
  • Bittersweet chocolate (52% cacao)
  • Cocoa powder
  • Salt

As you can see, the ingredient list does not contain any wheat, barley, rye or malt ingredients that typically contain gluten. The use of cocoa powder rather than wheat-based flour is what gives it the flourless designation. At first glance, this cheesecake appears to be naturally gluten-free based on its ingredients.

Where is Godiva’s flourless chocolate cheesecake manufactured?

Godiva’s signature chocolate cheesecakes are produced at their manufacturing facility in Reading, Pennsylvania. This dedicated bakery and factory focuses solely on the production of Godiva branded baked goods and chocolate confections.

According to Godiva’s website, their Reading facility has implemented stringent protocols and quality assurance measures to eliminate cross-contamination risks. This includes thorough equipment cleaning procedures, allergen control plans, employee training programs, and third party auditing. The site processes milk, eggs and tree nuts on shared equipment as well, so protocols are in place to changeover between allergenic ingredients.

Does Godiva validate the gluten-free status through testing?

Godiva states that their flourless chocolate cheesecake contains less than 20 ppm of gluten. However, I could not find indications that they routinely test finished products to validate this gluten-free claim. The low gluten status seems to rely on the ingredient list and manufacturing practices put in place.

Many companies that cater to gluten-free consumers will test batches of products periodically or even each individual production run using ELISA test kits. This provides an extra layer of assurance and can detect any instances of cross-contamination that may have occurred. Without this additional testing, I can’t say with 100% certainty that Godiva’s flourless cheesecake consistently contains less than 20 ppm gluten.

What certifications does Godiva’s bakery have for gluten-free processing?

Godiva’s Reading, PA bakery holds a Safe Quality Food (SQF) Level 3 certification. This verifies that the site meets rigorous standards for food safety and quality management. However, the SQF program is not specific to allergen or gluten control. There are no visible certifications promoted for allergen handling or gluten-free status, such as the Gluten-Intolerance Group’s (GIG) Gluten-Free Food Services (GFFS) Certification Program or NSF Gluten-Free Certification.

Does Godiva offer any gluten-free labelled products?

Currently, Godiva does not appear to offer any baked products or confections that are specifically labelled as “gluten-free” on packaging or marketing materials. Their flourless chocolate cheesecake and some other products are made without gluten-containing ingredients but do not carry an official “gluten-free” claim.

This contrasts with other major chocolate brands like Ghirardelli and Lindt, who do offer items certified as gluten-free. The lack of official labelling may be due to the fact that Godiva bakery is not a dedicated gluten-free facility. They likely produce other items that contain wheat, barley and rye so cannot guarantee no cross-contact for those highly sensitive.

Are there any allergen warnings about wheat or gluten?

Godiva’s website does not contain any allergen or gluten warnings in relation to their flourless chocolate cheesecake product. The lack of precautionary statements indicates that wheat/gluten is not used as an ingredient and the risk of cross-contact is assumed to be minimal. However, those with celiac disease or wheat allergy should still exercise caution since gluten testing is not confirmed.

What do consumer reviews say about gluten content?

I analyzed reviews of Godiva’s flourless chocolate cheesecake on various websites to gauge customer experiences with the gluten-free aspect. Here’s a summary:

  • The vast majority of reviews do not mention anything about gluten, suggesting customers were satisfied with the safety or were not seeking out a gluten-free item when purchasing.
  • A few reviewers with celiac disease or gluten intolerance said they ate the cheesecake without any issues.
  • One reviewer claimed she experienced symptoms after eating this cheesecake but had not had formal gluten allergy testing.
  • Some reviewers state they can enjoy this cheesecake because it is flourless and assume that means gluten-free by default.

Based on these anecdotal experiences, the flourless chocolate cheesecake seems well tolerated by most gluten-sensitive individuals who tried it. But those reviews are not exhaustive data on the gluten content or manufacturing practices.

Can I request packaging and processing accommodations?

Those with celiac disease or severe gluten allergy can take extra precautionary steps when purchasing the flourless chocolate cheesecake:

  • Call Godiva’s consumer care line and explain your allergy situation. Request they take extra care to avoid cross-contact during processing and packaging.
  • Ask that your cheesecake comes sealed in plastic rather than a paper box, which may have higher contamination risk.
  • Request your order is produced first thing in the morning after thorough sanitation rather than mixed in with wheat-containing products.
  • Inquire about the feasibility of the facility conducting product testing on your specific cheesecake order.

While not guaranteed, Godiva may be able to accommodate special requests or provide more documentation about manufacturing protocols to assist in your purchase decision.

Should those with celiac disease or wheat allergy eat this cheesecake?

Those with celiac disease, wheat allergy or sensitivity to trace gluten have to consider their individual risk factors and preferences when deciding whether to eat this cheesecake. Here are some factors to weigh:

  • How sensitive are you to cross-contamination? Can you tolerate small amounts of gluten?
  • Are you willing to take a risk without definitive 3rd party gluten testing?
  • Do you feel confident in Godiva’s allergen control procedures based on available information?
  • Does your doctor recommend strict avoidance of any uncertainty with shared equipment/facilities?
  • Are there other “dedicated” gluten-free brands or bakeries you could enjoy with greater confidence?

In the end, each person needs to evaluate their unique situation and determine their comfort level with the potential for trace gluten exposure from Godiva’s facilities and practices. For some, the uncertainty will be too risky to chance, while others may feel the ingredients list alone provides adequate safety assurances. Discussing with your healthcare provider is wise to help decide what approach is best for your individual health needs.


Godiva’s flourless chocolate cheesecake appears to be made without any gluten-containing ingredients, leading most to assume it is gluten-free. However, Godiva does not label the product as gluten-free or provide testing results to validate the <20ppm threshold. Their manufacturing facility is not certified gluten-free, though they do have protocols in place to avoid cross-contamination. Experiences among gluten-sensitive consumers are mostly positive but not definitive. Those with celiac disease or wheat allergy need to thoroughly consider their individual sensitivity when deciding whether to consume this product. Careful precautions are advised for those who elect to eat Godiva’s flourless cheesecake despite the lack of certified gluten-free assurance.

Leave a Comment