Gluten in Tea Bags?

Gluten is a wheat product that can be dangerous for some people. It can lead to swellings of the hands and the feet. There are also those rare people who are literally poisoned if they ingest products with gluten in them.

We know that tea does not have any gluten. But what about the tea bags?

Did you know that some companies close their tea bags by using a wheat gluten solution as glue?

If you are gluten sensitive, make sure your tea bags are crimp or staple closed. I prefer crimping since it eliminates the one-in-a-million possibility of swallowing a tiny staple.

I have sent emails asking this question to various tea companies.

Here is a quick answer from STASH, one of my most favorite bagged-tea sellers:
"Thank you for your email. We do not use gluten to seal our teabags, they are crimp sealed. All of our teas are gluten free as well. Please let me know if you have any further questions or comments.

Sincerely,
Erin Barsuglia
Quality Assurance
Stash Tea"
Thanks Stash! Not only you make good tea but obviously you care about your customers as well.

I'll share the other answers if and when I get them.

P.S. Here is another reply I've received from Celestial Seasonings:

"Thank you for taking the time to contact us. We strive to maintain the highest quality products and appreciate your patronage.

Our tea bag paper is comprised of a blend of chlorine-free fibers. None of our tea bag paper contains starch or gluten. Our supplier utilizes a proprietary, chlorine-free process in the manufacture of our tea bag paper. The paper is comprised of natural plant and heat-seal fibers. The heat-seal fibers are a food safe material that is added to the paper.

Sincerely,

George
Consumer Relations Representative"

UPDATE: It's interesting that LIPTON TEA officials could not come out and say "no, we do not use gluten in the manufacturing of our tea bags." Instead they simply advices us to read their ingredients carefully. So if you are gluten-sensitive I'd say be careful when using LIPTON tea bags.

Here is the official CONSUMER-BEWARE reply to my inquiry from UNILEVER, the mother-company of LIPTON TEAS:

"
Gluten is found in wheat rye, barley, and oats. In our sauces, the source of Modified Food Starch is corn. The source of Carmel Coloring is a brown food coloring obtained by heating sugars. Malted Barley, which has been partially germinated to permit some of its carbohydrates to be broken down into simpler sugars, is used to provide flavor and sweetening to food products.

Because our products are formulated for use by the majority of our consumers, and not specifically for those on restricted diets, it is possible our product formulations may change at any time. As a result, we cannot provide a list due to several factors:

- Lists of this type reflect products as formulated at a specific time
- Possible that more products/varieties may have been added
- More important, changes in existing products may have occurred

Therefore, we suggest READING ALL INGREDIENT LABELS CAREFULLY.

We hope this information is helpful!
Your friends at Unilever"

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