Is Taffy Town salt water taffy gluten-free?

Taffy Town is a popular maker of salt water taffy sold in candy shops and specialty stores across the United States. Their taffy is known for its delicious flavors and chewy texture. However, for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, an important question arises: is Taffy Town’s taffy gluten-free?

What is Taffy Town?

Taffy Town is a salt water taffy company based in Salt Lake City, Utah. They have been making taffy since 1947 and are now one of the largest taffy producers in the country. Taffy Town makes over 50 different flavors of taffy, including classic flavors like vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry, as well as more unique flavors like watermelon, maple bacon, and chili mango.

All of their taffy is handcrafted in small batches using quality ingredients. They use real fruit purees for their fruit flavors and high-end chocolate for their chocolate taffies. The “salt water” in the name refers to the salt water solution the taffy is whipped in during production, which gives it a light, fluffy texture.

In addition to their retail taffy sold in stores, Taffy Town also manufactures branded taffy in bulk for resorts, amusement parks, and other large buyers. Their taffy is found in locations across the United States from Utah to Florida.

What is gluten and celiac disease?

Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye. For most people, gluten is harmless. However, for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, consuming gluten can cause serious health issues.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where the body mounts an immune response to the gluten protein, damaging the small intestine. This can lead to symptoms like diarrhea, abdominal pain, malabsorption of nutrients, and over time can result in damage to the intestinal lining.

Non-celiac gluten sensitivity causes similar gastrointestinal symptoms when gluten is consumed, but does not appear to damage the intestines. Both conditions require eliminating gluten from the diet to manage symptoms.

For people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, consuming even small amounts of hidden gluten in foods can trigger symptoms. That’s why it’s important for them to know if a product like Taffy Town taffy contains gluten.

Does Taffy Town taffy contain gluten?

According to Taffy Town’s website, their taffy products are gluten-free. They state that all their taffy flavors are produced without wheat, barley, rye, or any ingredients derived from these grains. This would make them a gluten-free food choice.

Looking at the ingredient lists for their taffies confirms that they do not contain obvious sources of gluten:

  • Sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Kosher beef gelatin
  • Flavorings (depending on taffy flavor)
  • Colorings (depending on taffy flavor)
  • Salt

None of these listed ingredients are inherently sources of gluten. The beef gelatin binder used in place of wheat-derived gelatin also eliminates gluten.

It’s important to note that while Taffy Town’s plain taffy flavors appear to be gluten-free based on ingredients, some of their inclusions and variety flavors may contain other ingredients. For example, their Cookie Dough Bites taffy contains chocolate chip cookie dough pieces that could potentially contain wheat. Individuals would need to check labels and ingredients for specialty flavors against their dietary needs.

Risk of gluten cross-contamination

Even when a taffy’s ingredients look gluten-free, there is still a possibility of cross-contamination with gluten during manufacturing. Taffy Town’s website and packaging does not indicate that the facility or equipment is dedicated gluten-free. So gluten could be introduced during production.

However, Taffy Town states that they follow FDA manufacturing guidelines, which require disclosing the presence of wheat and other top allergens. The lack of allergen warnings about wheat or gluten on their packaging suggests a low risk of cross-contamination.

Ultimately, individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should weigh their own level of risk tolerance. The lack of a dedicated facility makes Taffy Town unsuitable for those requiring completely gluten-free settings. But many find ingredient-based gluten-free foods like their taffies are low enough risk to consume in moderation.

Are other major taffy brands gluten-free?

Two other popular mass-market taffy brands in the U.S. are Wonderful Pistachios and Zaffy Taffy. Here is how they compare to Taffy Town:

Wonderful Pistachios Salt Water Taffy

Wonderful Pistachios produces nut-flavored and nut-studded taffies under the Wonderful Pistachios brand. According to their website, these taffies are gluten-free to at least 20 parts per million.

The website states their facilities are allergen-controlled using practices like scheduled sanitation, separate storage and production lines, and employee training. So cross-contamination risks appear lower.

Zaffy Taffy

Zaffy Taffy is another mass market brand of salt water taffy sold in the U.S. According to the ingredients lists online, their classic taffy flavors appear gluten-free based on ingredients.

However, Zaffy Taffy does not make any labeling claims about being gluten-free or following allergen control procedures. So their products may pose a higher risk of gluten cross-contamination compared to a brand like Wonderful Pistachios.

Should celiacs and gluten-sensitive individuals eat Taffy Town taffy?

Whether someone with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity can safely eat Taffy Town taffy comes down to an individual’s level of risk tolerance:

Pros of Taffy Town for gluten-free diets

  • No wheat/gluten ingredients listed
  • Appears suitable for ingredient-based gluten-free diets
  • No wheat/gluten allergen warnings on packaging
  • Made in the USA (lower risk than imports)

Cons of Taffy Town for gluten-free diets

  • No gluten-free certification or testing
  • Facility not designated gluten-free
  • Some risk of cross-contamination

The relatively low risk profile means some living gluten-free may feel comfortable consuming their plain classic taffy flavors in moderation. However, due to the lack of certification and testing, Taffy Town products do not meet the standards for a gluten-free diet with zero tolerance.

Finding safely gluten-free taffy options

For those who need to strictly avoid any gluten exposure, looking for certified gluten-free brands is advised. Here are some good gluten-free taffy options:

Kenny’s Candy

Kenny’s Candy makes dedicated gluten-free taffy in segregated facilities and lab tests finished products to verify non-detectable levels of gluten. They offer fun candies like chili mango and cookies and cream taffy.

Taffy Town Gluten-Free

While regular Taffy Town taffy has cross-contamination risks, they produce some flavors in dedicated gluten-free facilities. These specialty flavors are certified gluten-free to less than 10 ppm.

Old Dominion Peanut Company

This peanut and nut confectioner makes gluten-free peanut butter taffy and other candies produced without wheat, barley, or rye.

Carefully checking labels and contacting manufacturers directly can uncover more niche gluten-free brands as well.

Making your own gluten-free taffy

For the most control, you can also make homemade gluten-free taffy. Here is a simple recipe to try:


  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter or dairy-free alternative
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Few drops of liquid food coloring (optional)


  1. Grease a baking pan lightly and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan over high heat, combine the corn syrup, sugar, salt and butter. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  3. Continue boiling and stirring for 5-7 minutes until it reaches 300°F on a candy thermometer.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and food coloring if using.
  5. Pour into the prepared baking pan. Do not scrape out the saucepan.
  6. Let cool completely until hardened, about 1 hour.
  7. Once hardened, pull the taffy with greased hands until soft and stretchy.
  8. Cut into 1-inch pieces with buttered scissors and wrap in wax paper.

With basic ingredients and clean tools, this recipe allows you to enjoy fresh, gluten-free taffy at home.


When it comes to Taffy Town’s salt water taffy, the product appears gluten-free based on its ingredients listing and lack of allergen warnings. However, the risk of cross-contamination from their manufacturing process means their taffy cannot be considered 100% gluten-free.

People with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity will need to weigh their personal tolerance for risk. While their classic taffy flavors may meet ingredient-level gluten-free standards, individuals highly sensitive should look for dedicated or certified options. Making gluten-free taffy from scratch can also let you control the entire process.

Overall, checking ingredients carefully and understanding manufacturing processes is key when assessing the gluten-free status of any food product.

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