Talking Gluten-Free Turkey with Butterball

I’m about to take a much anticipated vacation for the Thanksgiving holiday. My son is coming home for the first time since leaving for law school in the beginning of August. And my daughter has a week-long break from college. We don’t have our whole family together that often these days. The chance to have everyone under one roof with myself, my husband and our 15-year-old son is one of the things I am most thankful for this year.

But before I shut down the computer for a full seven days, I wanted to share some info about Butterball Turkeys from my conversation with Sherri Brennan, a registered dietitian who works with the company’s Turkey Talk-Line.

The good news that Butterball has changed the gravy packet that comes with its turkeys to make it gluten-free has been all over the gluten-free blog world.

Brennan said the move to gluten-free gravy mix came as a result of customers calling the Talk-Line to ask for it. Butterball decided it made sense to follow the suggestions and replaced wheat flour with rice flour and modified corn starch.

Brennan said the gluten-free mix is used with all turkeys that include gravy so you don’t have to worry about which particular type of Butterball you are buying.

“All our fresh and frozen turkeys should have the new gravy,” Brennan said. She noted it would be fairly unusual to find any Butterball with the old gravy packet but because Butterball does not control what is in grocery stores, you should read the label to be 100 percent certain.

The new gravy will list rice flour and modified cornstarch in the ingredients list.

All Butterball turkeys, with the exception of any that are pre-stuffed, are themselves gluten free.

That means you do not have to worry about any modified food starch that you see listed as an ingredient in the turkey itself. I have read comments from consumers who are confused about modified food starch in foods regulated by the USDA – mainly meat, poultry and eggs. The concern is that wheat might be used to make the modified food starch. Some consumers have said they do not trust any modified food starch, which is a shame because most of the time modified food starch is not made from wheat.

And since Butterball says the turkeys are gluten free, you do not need to worry that the modified food starch might be made from wheat. It is not.

As for me, I’ve never made gravy from a packet. In my family, gravy always comes from the flavorful drippings in the turkey pan and a slurry of water and cornstarch. So once I have a turkey that’s gluten free – most are – I am good to go.

But if you like the convenience the gravy pack provides, this is great news from another big, mainstream company that is taking the concerns of the growing gluten-free community into consideration – something else to be thankful for this year.

In addition to my gathered family, my list includes my husband’s new job after a scary and shocking layoff from the newspaper where he worked for 25 years, my father-in-law’s slowly returning good health after major surgery last month and my newborn nephew’s recovery from an unexpected trip to the operating room. Those are the big ticket items. I also have long list of constants in our lives that I am grateful for. But if I start spelling them out, I’ll never leave for my vacation.

Instead, I will wish all our loyal readers and all our fellow bloggers a Happy Thanksgiving with lots to be thankful for.