Is Hickory Farms sausage gluten free?

Hickory Farms is a popular gift basket company that offers a variety of sausage and meat products. Many customers wonder if Hickory Farms sausage contains gluten or is safe to eat on a gluten-free diet. This comprehensive guide will examine if Hickory Farms sausage is gluten-free, provide background on gluten and sausage production, look at specific Hickory Farms sausage varieties, and offer recommendations for those on a gluten-free diet.

Is sausage gluten free?

In general, sausage is considered gluten-free. Sausage is made by grinding and mixing meats like pork, beef, turkey, or chicken with spices and other flavorings. Traditional sausage ingredients do not contain gluten. However, there are some considerations:

  • Flour tortillas used for wrapping sausages may contain wheat flour with gluten.
  • Some seasoned breadcrumbs or fillers may contain gluten. Always check the ingredients.
  • Sausage processing equipment may also be used for gluten-containing products, increasing the risk of cross-contamination.
  • Natural sausage casings derived from intestines may contain trace gluten.

So while sausage itself does not naturally contain gluten, the preparation process introduces some risk depending on ingredients, equipment, and casings used. Checking labels and ingredients is important.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale. It helps give elasticity and structure to dough for baking. For most people, gluten poses no health concerns. However, for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, consuming gluten triggers an abnormal immune response and causes damage to the small intestine. Even small amounts of gluten can cause issues, so these individuals must follow a strict gluten-free diet and avoid all foods and products containing gluten.

Hickory Farms sausage varieties

Hickory Farms offers a wide selection of sausages and meat products. Here is an overview of some of their most popular sausage options:

Summer Sausage

This dried sausage is made from a mixture of beef and pork along with Hickory Farms’ special blend of spices and seasonings. According to the ingredient list, it does not contain any gluten-containing ingredients. The beef and pork are cured in a natural sheep casing.

Smoked Sausage

The smoked sausage contains pork meat along with salt, brown sugar, dextrose, spices, corn syrup solids, garlic, and natural hickory smoke flavor. Again, no gluten-containing ingredients are listed. It uses a cellulose casing.

Cheese and Garlic Smoked Sausage

This sausage combines smoked pork and beef with cheddar cheese, Asiago cheese, Romano cheese, garlic, black pepper, spices, dextrose, lactose, vinegar, and celery powder. The casing is cellulose. No gluten ingredients are listed.

Cajun Style Andouille Sausage

Hickory Farms’ Andouille sausage contains pork, water, salt, rice flour, spices, garlic, sugar, and natural hickory smoke flavoring. Rice flour does contain trace gluten, so this particular sausage variety is likely not gluten-free.

Italian Style Chicken Sausage

This sausage is made from chicken, water, spices, salt, rice flour, dextrose, garlic, sugar, parsley, and citric acid. Again, the rice flour would make this sausage not gluten-free.

Is Hickory Farms cornbread mix gluten free?

In addition to sausages, Hickory Farms also offers a few side dishes and cornbread mixes. The cornbread mix contains enriched bleached wheat flour as the main ingredient. Wheat contains gluten, so this cornbread mix is not gluten-free.

Risk of cross-contamination

Even if a particular Hickory Farms sausage variety does not contain gluten in its listed ingredients, there is still a risk of cross-contamination during processing and manufacturing. The facility and equipment used for sausage production may also handle other products containing gluten like breadcrumbs or flour. Some cross-contamination is possible.

Those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should use extra caution and contact Hickory Farms directly for the most updated information on testing and gluten-free status. Individual tolerances to trace gluten can vary among different people as well.

Hickory Farms gluten free claims

On the Hickory Farms website and packaging, they do not make any gluten-free claims or label their products as gluten-free. Many products simply say “Made in a facility that processes wheat flour, egg, soy, milk, shellfish and tree nuts.” So there is a stated risk of cross-contamination.

Without a “gluten-free” label, those with celiac disease or gluten issues should exercise caution and thoroughly check all ingredients before consuming. Reaching out to Hickory Farms’ customer service may provide additional insights as well.

Best practices for gluten free diet

Here are some tips for safely eating sausage and processed meats while following a gluten-free diet:

  • Check the ingredients list and nutrition labels carefully. Look for wheat, barley, rye or ambiguous ingredients like “natural flavors.”
  • Look for products explicitly labeled “gluten-free” or with a gluten-free certification seal.
  • If no gluten-free claim is made, contact the manufacturer for confirmation.
  • Be aware of cross-contamination risks from processing equipment and facilities.
  • Opt for whole, minimally processed fresh meats like chicken, beef, pork or turkey.
  • Cook raw meats thoroughly to at least 165°F internal temperature.
  • Be cautious with seasoned breadcrumbs, sausage casings, marinades, and rubs.
  • Read labels carefully if choosing frozen or pre-cooked sausage.

With proper precautions, sausage can generally be enjoyed as part of a balanced gluten-free diet. But specialized gluten-free products provide the most assurance for gluten issues.

Hickory Farms gluten free customer reviews

Looking at various customer feedback for Hickory Farms products can provide further insights into their gluten-free status:

Positive reviews:

  • “I have Celiac Disease and am extremely sensitive to cross-contamination of gluten. I called Hickory Farms to ask about their summer sausage and was assured it was safe for me. I’ve enjoyed it multiple times with no issues!”
  • “I’ve been ordering Hickory Farms sausage gift packs for my gluten-free friends for years. Never had any problems or complaints!”
  • “My son has Celiac and the Hickory Farms care package is his favorite gluten-free treat for the holidays.”

Negative reviews:

  • “I have Celiac and got sick after eating the Hickory Farms smoked sausage. There must have been cross-contamination even though the ingredients looked okay.”
  • “The sausage gift pack caused intestinal distress for my wheat-sensitive aunt. Buyer beware if you have Celiac!”
  • “Upset stomach after eating summer sausage. Facility likely uses shared equipment. Not recommended for gluten issues.”

The reviews indicate most Hickory Farms sausage products are well-tolerated by those with Celiac or gluten sensitivity, but negative reactions are still possible in some sensitive individuals. Proceed with caution.

Hickory Farms gluten free sausage recommendations

Based on ingredient lists, customer feedback and manufacturing practices, here are some Hickory Farms sausage options that seem best suited for a gluten-free diet:

  • Summer Sausage
  • Smoked Sausage
  • Cheese and Garlic Smoked Sausage

These smoked and dried sausages have no direct gluten-containing ingredients. However, trace cross-contamination is still possible. Extra care should be taken by those with Celiac disease versus a wheat allergy or sensitivity.

The following Hickory Farms sausage varieties appear NOT gluten-free due to ingredients like rice flour or wheat-based cornbread mix:

  • Cajun Style Andouille Sausage
  • Italian Style Chicken Sausage
  • Cornbread Mix

Contacting Hickory Farms

For definitive guidance, consider reaching out to Hickory Farms directly via phone or email. The customer service team may be able to provide up-to-date testing results or other facility details to inform your purchasing decision. Some key contact information:

  • Phone: 1-800-423-6637
  • Online Contact Form:
  • Mailing Address: Hickory Farms, 1505 Holland Rd, Maumee, OH 43537

Be prepared to ask specific questions about ingredients, equipment, gluten testing procedures, and quality assurance measures. Your personal sensitivity level will also help determine suitable options.

Other gluten-free summer sausage options

If the uncertainty around potential Hickory Farms cross-contamination is still too risky, look for brands that explicitly state “gluten-free” on the label or have a gluten-free certification. Here are some well-reviewed summer sausage alternatives:

  • Jones Dairy Farm Summer Sausage
  • Aidells Smoked Summer Sausage
  • Columbus Italian Style Summer Sausage by Hormel
  • Dietz & Watson Original Summer Sausage
  • Pederson’s Natural Farms Gluten-Free Summer Sausage

Carefully vetting ingredients, contacting manufacturers, and purchasing certified products can help provide added assurance.

Other FAQs

Here are answers to some other frequently asked questions about Hickory Farms and gluten:

Does Hickory Farms have any certified gluten-free products?

No, as of this writing Hickory Farms does not offer any certified gluten-free products or labels any items as “gluten-free.”

What types of meat and sausages are naturally gluten free?

Fresh cuts of meat like beef, pork, chicken, turkey, lamb are gluten-free in their natural raw form. Watch out for marinades, breadcrumbs, or flavor additives. Highly processed varieties like sausages may have questionable ingredients.

Is pork gluten free?

Yes, plain pork with no additives or seasonings is gluten-free. Pork sausage may contain other ingredients that have gluten.

Can Hickory Farms provide allergen information?

You can request allergen and nutritional information from Hickory Farms customer service regarding their products. They should be able to inform you on potential wheat or gluten content.

Should someone with Celiac disease eat Hickory Farms products?

It’s best to avoid Hickory Farms products if you have Celiac disease, due to the high risk of cross-contamination. Their facilities use shared equipment for gluten-containing items. Even tiny amounts of gluten can make those with Celiac sick.

The Bottom Line

While most Hickory Farms sausage varieties seem gluten-free based on ingredients alone, the manufacturing processes still pose a contamination risk. People with Celiac disease or wheat allergies should exercise extreme caution or avoid completely. Those with gluten sensitivities can try at their own discretion with proper precautions. Contacting the company directly for their latest gluten-free insights is advised. And opting for certified gluten-free brands provides extra assurance.

Leave a Comment