Is Smithfield Signature Ham Glaze Gluten Free?

Smithfield ham is an iconic American food, loved for its distinctively salty, smoky and sweet flavor. The Virginia-style ham gets its unique taste not just from the curing and smoking process but also from the signature glaze coating. This has many Smithfield fans wondering is Smithfield’s signature brown sugar glaze actually gluten-free? Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients and production to find out.

A Brief History of Smithfield Hams

The town of Smithfield Virginia has been mass producing cured hams since the 1700s. The Smithfield ham gets its signature flavor from salt curing, smoking over hickory and oak for months and aging for 6 to 12 months. This traditional process imparts a rich, complex taste.

In the early 20th century, large pork producers like Smithfield Foods mechanized and scaled up production of these country-style hams to distribute them widely across the United States Machine massaging was used to work the salt cure deep into the meat.

To further set their hams apart, Smithfield producers started coating the hams with a sweet, brown sugar glaze before smoking and aging. This caramelized outer layer gives Smithfield ham its glistening mahogany color and balance of salty, smoky and subtly sweet flavors.

Gluten-Free Status of Smithfield Ham

The Smithfield ham itself is just cured and smoked pork, so it contains no wheat or gluten ingredients. However, the signature glaze slathered on Smithfield hams is a potential source of gluten.

According to Smithfield Foods, their hams are considered gluten-free to 20 parts per million. The company specifies that all ingredients used in its ham production and glazing must be gluten-free. Smithfield avoids using barley, rye, oats, or wheat in their products.

Despite these reassurances, some people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity have reported reacting negatively to Smithfield hams, possibly due to cross-contamination. So those highly sensitive should use caution with this product.

Ingredients in Signature Glaze

Smithfield does not publicly provide the exact recipe for its proprietary brown sugar glaze. However, they say it contains ingredients like brown sugar, honey, molasses and natural flavorings.

Analyzing the glaze ingredients of some products, we can see the glaze contains: brown sugar, sugar, water, honey, contains 2% or less of molasses, natural flavor.

So Smithfield’s glaze appears to be made up of gluten-free ingredients. Of course, recipes can change so it’s important to always verify the ingredients.

Risk of Cross-Contamination

While the glaze itself may not contain gluten, there is a chance of cross-contamination during production. The facility may handle other products with gluten, and shared equipment could spread gluten to the glaze or hams.

Smithfield does say they follow rigorous sanitation protocols and change gloves between handling different products. But some sensitive individuals still report reactions, so there appears to be a low risk of cross-contact.

Your sensitivity level will determine if cross-contamination poses an issue. If you are highly gluten intolerant, you may want to avoid Smithfield hams or look for ones certified gluten-free to <20ppm like Jones Dairy Farm.

Tips for Safely Enjoying Smithfield Ham

Here are some tips for eating Smithfield ham more safely if you are gluten-free:

  • Carefully inspect the ingredients on any glaze packet. Occasionally people find wheat listed, so always verify.

  • Purchase a pre-sliced Smithfield ham to avoid cross-contact from the deli slicer.

  • Opt for a glaze-free ham and make your own honey glaze to have control.

  • Ask your local Smithfield butcher to freshly slice a ham before applying the glaze to prevent cross-contamination.

  • Stick to reputable grocery store chains or direct from Smithfield Foods, as quality control may be lower at some distributors.

  • Call ahead to your store’s specialty department to request their most popular hams be handled with uncontaminated gloves.

  • Inquire about dedicated equipment and sanitation protocols at your supermarket deli counter and meat department.

  • Start with a small serving the first time you try Smithfield ham to test your reaction.

Best Practices When Selecting Gluten-Free Hams

When choosing any brand of ham on a gluten-free diet, there are important steps to take:

  • Carefully read all ingredients on ham and glaze packaging.

  • Verify any claims of being “gluten-free” with the manufacturer.

  • Look for a trusted gluten-free certification like GFCO.

  • Opt for major brands that explicitly state gluten-free status.

  • Know that spices, seasonings, and glazes often contain gluten.

  • Be extra cautious of hams sliced at the deli counter due to cross-contact.

  • Stick to products with clear packaging, not loose hams.

  • Contact the company if you have any questions or concerns.

The Verdict on Smithfield Signature Glazed Ham

Based on available information, Smithfield’s signature glazed hams appear to be made without gluten-containing ingredients. However, the risk of cross-contamination during production and packaging means sensitive gluten-free diners should exercise some caution with these products.

Your comfort level enjoying Smithfield ham will come down to your individual sensitivity and reaction history. Those highly sensitive are safer choosing a certified gluten-free ham like Jones Dairy Farm or Wellshire Farms. People who tolerate trace amounts can more comfortably eat Smithfield in moderation.

No gluten-free claims can be made about deli hams unless you can verify ingredients and preparation. Your best bet is always purchasing certified gluten-free pre-packaged ham options from trusted brands if you are very gluten intolerant. But Smithfield glazed hams from sealed packages may be tolerable for less sensitive gluten-free consumers when enjoyed occasionally in small portions.

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Which Smithfield hams are gluten-free?

Farmland, another division of Smithfield Foods, makes an extensive variety of hams and ham products. The Farmland hams that appear on Smithfield’s gluten-free list include: Bavarian brand ham, water added. Black Forest ham.

What is in the glaze for Smithfield ham?

Glaze Packet Ingredients: Sugar, Dextrose, Brown Sugar, Water, Modified Food Starch, Caramel Color, Potassium Sorbate And Sodium Benzoate (Preservatives), Spice, Citric Acid, Xanthan Gum. Bacon Bit Packet Cured With: Water, Contains 2% Or Less Of: Salt, Sugar, Sodium Phosphates, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite.

Does glazed ham have gluten?

Ham on its own is naturally gluten-free, but sometimes storebought hams are made with gluten-containing glazes, spice packets, and seasonings. If you have Celiac disease or eat a gluten-free diet, it’s always best to read the ingredient list and look for a gluten-free label.

Is Signature ham gluten-free?

Yes! We believe this product is gluten free as there are no gluten ingredients listed on the label.

Are Smithfield Hams gluten-free?

According to a representative, the hams are not considered to be gluten-free. Farmland, another division of Smithfield Foods, makes an extensive variety of hams and ham products. The Farmland hams that appear on Smithfield’s gluten-free list include: Hatfield has five bone-in hams, 16 boneless hams, and seven ham steaks.

Are Hatfield hams gluten-free?

Hatfield has five bone-in hams, 16 boneless hams, and seven ham steaks. However, Hatfield’s list of gluten-free products does not list any these hams. Some of the hams may be manufactured on the same lines as gluten-containing products (although the lines are cleaned thoroughly in between product runs), according to a company representative.

Are Ham glazes gluten free?

Otherwise, lots of brands contain no gluten ingredients. Regardless of your sensitivity level, always read the ingredients on any ham you buy, since glaze packets often contain gluten (if in doubt, throw it out and make your own with the recipes using the list included below).

Are Cook’s hams gluten-free?

Cook’s specifies that all ingredients used in its ham production be gluten-free, but the company still warns that its suppliers may change their formulations without telling Cook’s ahead of time. Nonetheless, this company seems pretty diligent when it comes to crafting gluten-free hams. Products include:

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