Many people enjoy a quick trip to Taco Bell. However, this Mexican fast food chain is not the safest choice for those with Celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
Taco Bell's Official Stance on Gluten
Taco Bell has a few menu items that are not made with gluten-containing ingredients. Taco Bell's website even has a handy tool to identify items on the menu that don't contain gluten and other allergens. However, menu items that do not contain gluten are still not safe for with Celiac disease and non-Celiac gluten sensitivity.
On their website, Taco Bell states the restaurant "does not claim "gluten-free" for any of its food. Some Taco Bell® items are made without gluten containing ingredients but are prepared in common kitchen areas, including common fryer oil, risking gluten exposure. Taco Bell® does not recommend products for customers with celiac disease. Customers with gluten sensitivities should exercise judgment when ordering."
With that statement, Taco Bell puts safety into the consumers' hands. It is up to the consumers to make the choice to eat at Taco Bell or not when living with Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
It is clear that if an individual has Celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, they should not dine at Taco Bell. However, those that follow a gluten-free diet as a lifestyle choice and don't experience an adverse physical reaction to gluten may still find some gluten-free options at Taco Bell. The following is a list of foods made without gluten at Taco Bell.
- Chicken Power Menu Bowls (Chicken, rice, cheese, romaine lettuce, avocado ranch sauce, reduced fat sour cream, guacamole, black beans, and pico de gallo)
- Steak Power Menu Bowls (Same as above except with steak instead of chicken)
- Veggie Power Menu Bowls (Extra black beans and veggies along with ingredients listed in the chicken power bowl)
- Spicy Tostada (Crispy corn tortilla, beans, tomatoes, chipotle sauce, red sauce, and lettuce)
- Double Tostada
- Hash Browns
- Black Beans
- Black Beans and Rice
- Chips with Guacamole
- Chips with Pico de Gallo
- Chips with Salsa
- Nacho Cheese Doritos Chips
- Pintos 'n Cheese
- Seasoned Rice
- Mountain Dew Baja Blast Freeze
- Orange Cream Pop Freeze
- Skittles Freeze
- Border Sauces (Diablo, Hot, and Mild)
If eating a gluten-free diet as a lifestyle choice the above items meet those standards, but may contain traces of gluten from cross contamination. Utilize Taco Bell's online tool to find menu options for any other existing allergies.
What People Are Saying
Many individuals following a gluten-free diet dine at Taco Bell. Reviews of their gluten-free food options are mixed. A TripAdvisor review stated that their gluten-free niece loves the options Taco Bell has to offer for her. However, CeliAct raises caution when ordering the nachos and cheese, stating they are made in equipment that makes other gluten-containing foods. Additionally, a Reddit review who claimed to be a former employee of Taco Bell stated that cross-contamination is a very real concern if dining gluten-free at Taco Bell.
Vegetarian food blog The Nerdy Science Girl points out that those interested in grain-free diets can order menu items sans the shell or tortilla (though this does not eliminate the cross-contamination concern).
These reviews reiterate to use extreme caution if sensitive to gluten and dining at Taco Bell or avoid eating at the restaurant completely.
Taco Bell and Gluten
Taco Bell blatantly states on their website people with Celiac disease should not consume food made at Taco Bell and those sensitive to gluten should use extreme caution. Therefore, individuals should avoid Taco Bell if living with Celiac disease. However, Taco Bell's menu provides a host of foods made without gluten, if you are simply trying to avoid eating gluten.