Are Milk Duds Gluten-Free? The Ultimate Guide to GF Candy

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With the ever-growing popularity of the gluten-free diet, consumers are more vigilant than ever about the ingredients in their favorite sweet treats.

Hershey’s Milk Duds is one of the most beloved and debated candies in this context.

But the burning question remains: Are milk Duds gluten-free?

To uncover the truth, let’s dive deep into these gluten-free candies and chocolates.

Understanding Gluten and Why It Matters

Gluten is a combination of proteins found in wheat, rye, and barley.

Consuming even a small amount of gluten can trigger unpleasant symptoms for individuals with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

Thus, they must ensure that candies and chocolates are completely gluten-free.

The Composition of Milk Duds

Milk Duds are iconic candies produced by the Hershey Company.

They are primarily known for their chewy caramel center, coated with a thin layer of chocolate.

Core Ingredients of Milk Duds:

  • Corn Syrup: A sweetener derived from corn. It’s gluten-free by nature.
  • Sugar: The primary sweetening agent. Again, sugar is gluten-free.
  • Vegetable Oil (Palm Oil, Shea Oil, Sunflower Oil, Safflower Oil): Oils used in the processing. All are gluten-free.
  • Reduced Protein Whey (Milk): Whey, a byproduct of milk, has reduced protein in this form.
  • Chocolate: The outer layer of the milk duds candy.
  • Nonfat Milk: No milk fat content.
  • Dextrose: A type of sugar.
  • Contains 2% or less of Caramel Color, Whey Protein Concentrate, Salt, Brown Sugar, Soy Lecithin, Artificial Flavor, and Tapioca Dextrin.

Are Milk Duds Gluten-Free?

Based on the ingredients listed, it would seem that Milk Duds doesn’t have any direct gluten-containing items.

However, the catch lies in the manufacturing and processing environments.

Cross-contamination can occur if the same machinery processes products with wheat or other gluten-containing grains.

While the Hershey Company does not label Milk Duds as “certified gluten-free,” they provide allergen information on their website.

It is always recommended to refer to a product’s official website or packaging before consuming, especially if you have gluten intolerance or celiac disease.

Other Gluten-Free Candies by Hershey’s

Hershey’s, one of the leading candy brands, offers several gluten-free alternatives.

Some of the notable gluten-free Hershey’s candy includes:

  • Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar (only the 1.55oz size)
  • Hershey’s Milk Chocolate with Almonds Bar (only the 1.45oz size)
  • Hershey’s Kisses

However, it’s essential to be cautious and read the labels, as variations in sizes or flavor additions can affect the gluten-free status.

Gluten in Other Popular Candies

While we’ve established the gluten status for Milk Duds, it’s also good to know about other popular candies.

Some candies are naturally gluten-free, while others might contain gluten or are at risk of cross-contamination.

  • Cocoa Butter and Confectioner’s Glaze: These are gluten-free ingredients often used in candies and chocolates.
  • Candies with Barley, Wheat, or Rye: Candies containing these grains are not gluten-free.

Always remember to refer to the product’s official website or packaging when in doubt.

Safety First: What to Look Out For

Always be on the lookout for the term “certified gluten-free.”

This certification means the product meets strict standards for gluten-free labeling.

If you can’t find this label, there might be a risk, mainly if the candy is processed in facilities that handle gluten-containing products.


In the realm of candies, the choice is vast.

For those following a gluten-free diet, it’s crucial to remain vigilant, read labels, and stay informed.

While Milk Duds might not be labeled as certified gluten-free, the ingredients do not contain direct sources of gluten.

However, always be cautious of potential cross-contamination.

Indulging in a sweet treat should be fun and safe.

By staying informed and vigilant, you can enjoy your candies while ensuring they align with your dietary needs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are Milk Duds certified gluten-free?

No, Milk Duds are not labeled as "certified gluten-free." While their ingredients may not directly contain gluten, there's potential for cross-contamination during the manufacturing process, especially if the same machinery processes products with gluten-containing grains.

What candy can celiacs not eat?

People with celiac disease should exercise caution when choosing candies. It's vital to avoid those containing wheat, barley, or rye ingredients. Additionally, candies made on shared equipment with gluten products can pose a risk due to potential cross-contamination. Ingredients like "modified food starch" or "dextrin" without a clear source can be problematic. Seasonal or special edition candies might have different ingredients, so it's crucial to check those labels too. Lastly, candies from bulk bins are best avoided since there's a heightened risk of cross-contamination.