Find out if Spam is gluten-free, what it’s made from, and which varieties are safe for a gluten-free diet.
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If you like to eat Spam or keep it on hand for emergencies, you may have wondered if this canned meat option is safe for you and your gluten-free diet.
In this post, we’re going to talk about the basics of Spam: what Spam is, what it’s made from, and what varieties of this canned meat product come in.
We’ll also answer the question “Is Spam gluten-free?” so you can confidently make a choice next time you have the desire to pick up this convenience food from the store.
What is Spam?
Spam is a type of canned meat that comes in a signature rectangular-shaped metal can. It became popular during World War II, when it was difficult to transport fresh meat overseas.
Spam tastes like salty deli meat, more specifically ham. It is already cooked, so you can eat it both cooked or uncooked. People often like to keep Spam on hand for emergency food supplies, because it has a long shelf life.
Some popular ways to prepare Spam include fried rice, as Spam fries, in breakfast burritos, sandwiches, or egg dishes, and even in sandwiches or sushi.
Read on: Gluten-free emergency food
What is Spam made from?
While Spam has a bad reputation for being extremely processed, it actually doesn’t contain too many ingredients. Here are the ingredients in three of their most popular products.
Ingredients in original Spam
“Pork with ham, salt, water, modified potato starch, sugar, sodium nitrite.”
Ingredients in Spam Lite
“Pork with ham, mechanically separated chicken, water, salt, modified potato starch, sugar, sodium phosphates, potassium chloride, sodium nitrate.”
Ingredients in Spam Less Sodium
“Pork with ham, mechanically separated chicken, water, salt, modified potato starch, sugar, sodium phosphates, potassium chloride, sodium nitrite.”
What varieties does Spam come in?
Spam comes in a variety of flavors and options. Here is the current lineup of Spam according to the brand’s website.
- Spam Classic
- Spam Lite
- Spam Less Sodium
- Spam with Real Hormel Bacon
- Spam Oven Roasted Turkey
- Spam Hickory Smoke
- Spam Hot and Spicy
- Spam Jalapeno
- Spam Teriyaki
- Spam with Portuguese Sausage Seasoning
- Spam with Tocino Seasoning
- Spam Single Classic
- Spam Single Lite
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in most wheat products, and acts as the “glue” that helps to hold wheat, barley, kamut, spelt, farro, durum, bulgur, rye, and semolina together to maintain their shape.
Gluten is naturally occurring, and therefore is impossible to strip away from the grain. If a grain naturally has gluten in it, there’s no way to make that food gluten-free.
Is Spam gluten-free?
Spam is manufactured by Hormel Foods, a large food distribution company. Their website shows a page that indicates which of their products are safe for a gluten-free diet, and the following Spam varieties are listed as gluten-free:
- SPAM Black Pepper
- SPAM Classic
- SPAM Hot and Spicy
- SPAM Less Sodium
- SPAM Lite
- SPAM Jalapeño
- SPAM Oven Roasted Turkey
- SPAM Single Classic
- SPAM Single Lite
- SPAM Tocino
- SPAM with Real Hormel® Bacon
Read on: Is bacon gluten-free?
If you enjoy Spam or like to keep it on hand for certain recipes or emergencies due to its long shelf life, I hope this post has helped you get the answers you’ve been looking for.
While Spam may not be the healthiest of foods with the large amount of processing it goes through and sodium content, it is gluten-free and can be eaten while following a gluten-free diet.
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