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  • Jefferson Adams

    Are Dunkin’ Donuts Breakfast Bowls Gluten-Free and Safe for People with Celiac Disease?

      By failing to mention gluten on the label or the new products on their website, Dunkin' Dounuts creates impression their new breakfast bowls might be okay for celiac sufferers. They probably aren't.

    Caption: Image: CC--JeepersMedia

    Celiac.com 05/08/2019 - As Dunkin' looks to rebrand itself as a destination for more than just donuts, it has begun to offer breakfast foods, like the Power Breakfast Sandwich that launched earlier this year. Starting today at participating restaurants nationwide, Dunkin' is offering two new breakfast bowls, the Egg White Bowl and the Sausage Scramble Bowl. 

    And one question we've seen a lot, one thing many gluten-free eaters want to know is: Are Dunkin' Donuts Breakfast Bowls gluten-free and safe for people with celiac disease?

    First, let's take a quick look at the products and their ingredients. The Egg White Bowl is made with egg whites, spinach, roasted potatoes, cheddar cheese and caramelized onions and delivers 14 grams of lean protein and 250 calories.

    The Sausage Scramble Bowl is made with scrambled eggs, sausage, melted cheddar jack cheese, peppers and onions, with 21 grams of protein and 450 calories.

    On the surface, these products list no gluten ingredients, so are they gluten-free and safe for people with celiac disease?

    The answer is likely no. The first clue is the absence of any clear claim by Dunkin' about these products being gluten-free. No gluten-free label, then they're likely not gluten-free.

    So, are they gluten-safe, that is, are they products made with no gluten ingredients that might be safe for some people with celiac disease?

    The Dunkin' Donuts website makes no mention of gluten at all. Nor does the site mention the new breakfast bowls. The best a curious person can do is to try to find specific menu items, and look for the allergen information for each product.

    To do that, a user must click on Food & Drinks, then click Sandwiches & Wraps, then click any given menu item, then click on Customization & Nutrition for find allergen information. Here's a shortcut link to Dunkin' Donuts breakfast sandwiches. Even for items like breakfast sandwiches that clearly come on a bagel, or croissant, or an English Muffin, Dunkin' Donuts makes no mention of gluten. The simply stick with their standard disclaimer:  

    • "Please be advised that any of our products may contain, or may have come in contact with, allergens including Eggs, Fish, Milk, Peanuts, Shellfish, Soy, Tree nuts, and Wheat. Before placing your order, please inform your server if a person in your party has a food allergy."

    They use the same disclaimer even for products like has browns, that officially contain no allergens. Moreover, the site makes no mention of their breakfast bowls, and appears to have no allergen information on those items.

    The breakfast sandwiches are clearly not gluten-free and not safe for celiac sufferers. Even in the absence of clear allergen information, or gluten-free labels, it is reasonable to assume that the new breakfast bowls are not gluten-free, and not safe for people with celiac disease.

    Dunkin’ Bowls are available now at participating Dunkin’ restaurants nationwide for a limited time only. However, if you're looking for a gluten-free guarantee, or if you have celiac disease, you'll probably want to look elsewhere for breakfast. 

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    I completely get that DD doesn't want to make gluten declarations on products they make in their own store: a bakery environment has the potential for crazy amounts of airborne flour that cross-contaminates other foods. That said, their outright refusal to keep pre-packaged alternatives in stock--like their recent foray into gluten-free brownies (which were surprisingly good!) is mindboggling and, in my opinion, rude. 

    How much money can it possibly cost DD to keep a box of gluten-free brownies (with a shelf-life of several weeks) on the counter?  If they sell out, order more. It's not like they don't have trucks arriving at least once a week.  And they don't need to even label them gluten-free: because they farm out production of such things, all they need to say is that they were "manufactured in a gluten-free facility".

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    I am not sure that I would ever walk into a DD.  I never thought of them as a gluten-free option for anything. I have had bad experiences in other places that told me that they could make me a Gluten-free breakfast, then I get my plate served with Toast on top.  That was after I STRESSED, “No Toast!!!” I would go to return it for my money back, and they said, “No, just take the toast off!”

    I would have to explain to the lady that,  “it is NOT Gluten-Free, even if I take the toast off, and I do not trust that you  have a handle on what is gluten-free.”

    Even when a company does say something is Gluten-Free, I am still very wary.   

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    Guest Joe Nappi


    Yeah, you have to be careful, a few times I ordered food off a gluten free menu and they added some bread, corn muffin of something filled with gluten. It makes you lose confidence in the restaurant. I am lucky. Although I have Celiac disease the few times I made a mistake I had no ill affects.  

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    Okay, so DD is not an option and we should “look elsewhere”... but can you recommend some ‘elsewheres’??

    Besides a Marshmallow Dream bar from Starbuck (not my of a of a meal— and I really really miss the gluten-free breakfast sandwich) is there any chain anywhere that can feed hungry celiacs while our friends nibble on muffins and bagels and donuts?

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in biology, anatomy, medicine, science, and advanced research, and scientific methods. He previously served as Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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    Update: Dunkin' Donuts has released the following statement to Gluten-Free Living:
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    Celiac.com 01/30/2014 - Why is Dunkin' Donuts taking so long to debut gluten-free versions of its famous treats? First came the whispers of test marketing and then the official announcement, but then…?
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    For a more detailed account of Dunkin's much anticipated gluten-free donut rollout, Venessa Wong has an excellent article in Bloomberg Businessweek.

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 02/10/2014 - Dunkin' Donuts is quietly ditching its much publicized, much anticipated campaign to introduce gluten-free donuts across the nation.
    Information is scant, as Dunkin' has not issued any official press release. Dunkin' Donuts did, however, release the following statement to Gluten-Free Living:
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    Jefferson Adams
    Dunkin’ Donuts Looks to Score with New Gluten-Free Brownie
    Celiac.com 08/06/2018 - Okay, so it’s not a gluten-free donut, but Dunkin’ Donuts has announced the debut of a gluten-free fudge brownie, the company’s first-ever gluten-free bakery product, that will be available in all of Dunkin's 8,500 US stores.
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    If you get a chance to try Dunkin’s new gluten-free brownie, please let us know your thoughts. 

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