Log Cabin is a popular brand of pancake syrup made by Conagra Brands. As someone with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, it’s important to know if Log Cabin syrup contains any gluten ingredients that could cause a reaction. This article provides a comprehensive look at the various Log Cabin syrup varieties and whether they can be safely consumed on a gluten-free diet.
What is Gluten and Why is it Harmful?
Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, barley, rye and other related grains. For most people, gluten does not cause any issues when consumed. However, for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, gluten triggers an autoimmune response that damages the small intestine. Even tiny amounts of gluten can cause symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, fatigue and more in gluten-sensitive individuals. Following a strict 100% gluten-free diet is currently the only treatment for celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. This means reading labels carefully and avoiding any products that contain wheat, barley, rye or contaminated oats.
Are Pancake Syrups Typically Gluten-Free?
Most traditional pancake syrups are gluten-free. They are primarily made from either corn syrup or maple syrup, mixed with sugar, water and preservatives or natural flavors. Corn syrup is naturally gluten-free, as it is derived from corn. Pure maple syrup also does not contain any gluten ingredients. Any pancake syrup made with just these basic gluten-free ingredients would be safe for a gluten-free diet.
However, there are some pancake syrups that do contain gluten. Flavored syrups may use malt or malt flavoring derived from barley, which contains gluten. Read the ingredients carefully to look for any sources of gluten like malt. Also beware of cross-contamination, which can occur if syrups are processed on shared equipment with gluten-containing foods. Reputable gluten-free brands will implement proper protocols to avoid cross-contamination in their facilities.
Log Cabin Original Syrup Ingredients
Here are the ingredients listed for Log Cabin’s original syrup variety:
– Corn syrup
– High fructose corn syrup
– Cellulose gum
– Natural and artificial flavor
– Caramel color
– Sodium benzoate and sorbic acid (preservatives)
None of these ingredients are derived from gluten-containing grains. The primary ingredients – corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup – come from corn. The other additives are purified compounds that do not contain gluten either.
So the original Log Cabin syrup does not contain any inherent gluten ingredients based on the label. As long as proper care is taken to avoid cross-contamination in manufacturing, it should be safe for gluten-free diets.
Other Log Cabin Varieties
Log Cabin produces several syrup varieties besides the original. Here is a run-down of the other options and their potential for gluten:
Log Cabin Lite Syrup
Log Cabin Lite has very similar ingredients to the original syrup but contains additional natural flavors and sucralose as a zero calorie sweetener. It does not appear to contain any gluten-based ingredients.
Log Cabin Vanilla and Cinnamon Syrup
The flavored vanilla and cinnamon options contain the same base ingredients as original Log Cabin syrup. Additionally, they list “natural flavors” which impart the vanilla or cinnamon taste. Potentially the natural flavors could include malt from barley, but this is not indicated. Most likely they are derived from gluten-free sources like beans, bark or other natural plant extracts. But consumers with celiac disease may wish to contact the manufacturer to inquire about the flavorings just to be safe.
Log Cabin Maple Syrup Blend
This syrup combines corn syrup with real maple syrup, which is naturally gluten-free. The mix should not contain any concerning gluten ingredients.
Log Cabin Sugar Free Syrup
Instead of high fructose corn syrup, the sugar free variety is sweetened with sucralose and contains maltodextrin as an additional thickener. Maltodextrin is sometimes derived from wheat, which would make it unsafe for celiacs. But Log Cabin’s website indicates their maltodextrin is derived from corn, not wheat. So the sugar free syrup is very likely to be gluten-free, but you may wish to check with the company to confirm the source of their maltodextrin.
Log Cabin Pancake Syrup Mini Bottles
Log Cabin sells their original syrup formula in convenient mini plastic bottles for eating on-the-go. These mini syrups have the same ingredients as the regular original variety and do not contain any gluten sources.
Are Any Log Cabin Products Certified Gluten-Free?
Currently, Log Cabin does not label any of their syrup products as “gluten-free” or submit them for certification through programs like the GFCO. Very few pancake syrup brands actually get formal gluten-free certification.
However, Log Cabin states on their website FAQ that all their syrups are gluten-free to 20 parts per million (ppm) based on their own testing procedures. This limit of less than 20 ppm is the same standard used by GFCO and other certifiers to designate gluten-free status.
So while Log Cabin syrups lack an official gluten-free label, the company does claim to abide by the same gluten thresholds required for certification.
Is Log Cabin Syrup Produced in a Dedicated Gluten-Free Facility?
Log Cabin syrups are produced in facilities that also process gluten-containing ingredients, according to the company. Their website states that they follow rigorous sanitation protocols and GMPs (Good Manufacturing Practices) to prevent cross-contamination.
However, people with celiac disease who are highly sensitive may prefer to choose pancake syrups made in entirely gluten-free facilities, for extra assurance. Some reputable brands like Maple Grove Farms process their syrups in dedicated gluten-free plants, to eliminate any risk of gluten cross-contact.
So while Log Cabin performs testing to ensure their syrups fall below 20 ppm gluten, there is a small chance of traces getting in from shared equipment. Individual sensitivity levels may determine if their protocols are sufficient.
Does Log Cabin Have a History of Gluten-Related Recalls?
In searching the FDA recall database, there are no records of Log Cabin syrup products being recalled or withdrawn from sale due to gluten contamination. This is a good sign that their protocols to avoid cross-contact are generally working. However, absence of public recalls does not guarantee that occasional gluten issues could not occur behind the scenes. Smaller amounts of cross-contamination may go unreported. So those with celiac disease need to weigh their personal sensitivity when choosing pancake syrup brands.
What Do Customer Reviews Say About Log Cabin and Gluten?
Checking online customer comments provides real world feedback on how well Log Cabin syrups work out for gluten-free diets:
– Many reviewers state Log Cabin syrup does not cause them any gluten-related issues. They feel comfortable consuming it as a celiac.
– Some people mention contacting the company to ask about gluten testing. Log Cabin customer service has told them the syrups test below 20ppm.
– A few reviews mentioned gastrointestinal upset after consuming Log Cabin. It’s unclear if gluten was the cause, but it could be a sign of trace amounts for sensitive individuals.
– Other reviewers look for gluten-free certification or facilities. They prefer brands like Maple Grove Farms that manufacture in dedicated plants.
Overall, customer feedback seems mixed. While many celiacs tolerate Log Cabin well, some prefer the extra assurance of certified gluten-free brands. Listening to your own body’s reactions ultimately determines if Log Cabin is safe for your needs.
Should You Contact Log Cabin Customer Service About Gluten?
The best way to know for sure if Log Cabin syrups are gluten-free to your standards is to contact their customer service department directly. Here are some questions you may wish to ask:
– Do you test finished syrup products or just ingredients? What is your actual finished product test result for gluten?
– What type of testing do you perform (ELISA, PCR, etc.) and what is the limit of detection?
– Could you provide me with a copy of recent third-party lab results documenting gluten levels?
– Are your facilities shared with any wheat or gluten ingredients? What cleaning procedures are followed?
– Could any equipment parts or piping carry residual gluten between product batches?
– Have you ever found any unacceptable gluten levels during testing that led to actions?
Getting detailed answers to these types of questions can offer reassurance about the steps Log Cabin takes to avoid gluten in their syrups. If you have uncertainties or want documentation, reach out to their customer service department.
Should You Try an Elimination Diet to Assess Log Cabin?
An elimination diet is the gold standard way to determine if a particular food is causing symptoms or reaction for you. To test Log Cabin, follow a strict gluten-free diet for 1-2 weeks while eliminating Log Cabin completely. Take note of any symptom improvements. Then, reintroduce Log Cabin syrup while avoiding all other sources of gluten. If symptoms worsen again, Log Cabin may be problematic for you.
Trying this elimination diet with Log Cabin can provide clear evidence of whether traces of gluten may be present that are affecting you. The reintroduction phase in particular can help pinpoint if Log Cabin is truly safe for your own body.
Picking Alternatives to Log Cabin Syrup
If you prefer to avoid Log Cabin, here are some alternative pancake syrup brands to consider that are labeled gluten-free and/or produced in dedicated facilities:
– Aunt Jemima Original Syrup
– Mrs. Butterworth’s Original Syrup
– Hungry Jack Original Syrup
– Birch Benders
– Maple Grove Farms
– Nature’s Hollow
– Vermont Maple Syrup Company
– Coombs Family Farms
– Cary’s Sugar Free Syrup
Checking for reputable brands with gluten-free labels or manufacturing practices can provide extra assurance. Sticking with pure maple syrup is another easy option, if you don’t mind the premium price.
Is Log Cabin Syrup Suitable for a Gluten-Free Diet?
The Bottom Line:
Based on ingredients and the company’s policies, Log Cabin syrups appear safe for gluten-free diets, though they lack certification. But those highly sensitive should use caution and consider contacting Log Cabin with questions or trying an elimination diet. Alternative brands made in dedicated facilities also offer extra gluten protection. Speak with your doctor if unsure about including Log Cabin syrup in your gluten-free diet.