Notice To Parents: Play-Doh Contains Wheat (It’s Not Gluten-Free… Yet)

2 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

Our family has been vegetarian for over a year now, and to be honest, going over 12 months without meat has been no sacrifice.

We get our protein from beans, seeds, green vegetables, nuts, dairy products, and whole grains.

And when I say “whole grains,” I’m mainly referring to wheat; in other words… the now-stigmatized “gluten.”

Most of our meals are Italian or Mexican inspired, relying on whole-grain pasta or bread of some sort. While we’ve consumed zero meat products since December 2012, we’ve eaten our fair share of gluten.

Fortunately, gluten is not an allergen for our family. However, there is a marketable demographic in America who does have some sort of allergic reaction to gluten foods, including wheat.

Here recently, I’ve even noticed how the phrase “gluten-free” has become a marketing tool. (At least it’s not as illegitimate and misleading in the way that often¬†pink ribbons are marketed to sell products that are actually linked to promoting cancer and disease.)

For example, I’ve seen “gluten-free” on the package of a 2 liter bottle of soda; as if the massive amount of refined sugar wasn’t a health issue.

America’s awareness of gluten has become so high that now Play-Doh has evidently felt liable to address it on their packaging in huge all-caps:


In a smaller font, an additional warning reads, “Fun to play with, but not to eat.”

So while it’s common knowledge that Play-Doh is a toy, not a food, Hasbro has to play it safe with their product, beyond it being non-toxic.

Now, they have to indirectly address the fact that it’s not gluten free; in the event a child with a gluten allergy eats the stuff.

It makes me wonder, is there a market for gluten-free Play-Doh? The answer is yes; I know this because I Googled it.

However, none of the products available were actually Play-Doh products. Instead, they are made by companies that not many people have heard of… yet.

I’m really curious if Hasbro (who makes Play-Doh) will decide to claim their share of the gluten-free Play-Doh market…

Honestly, I don’t know what’s funnier: The fact that Play-Doh has a warning on their product that it contains wheat, or imagining in the near future seeing an advertisement for gluten-free Play-Doh, though Play-Doh is technically a toy, not a food.

Either way, I’m convinced there is a marketing team at the Hasbro headquarters in Pawtucket, Rhode Island that has already at least one meeting about gluten-free Play-Doh.





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  1. by Stacey

    On January 7, 2013 at 12:31 am

    I’m sorry but play doh has been around for as long as I can remember and I’m sure it’s been out even longer than I’ve been alive. Why start a riot over it containing wheat? The whole gluten free epidemic is fairly new and I understand some people are allergic but I feel there are more important things to raise a stink about as a parent.

  2. by Nick Shell

    On January 7, 2013 at 6:07 am

    Hi Stacey. I don’t think anyone should start a riot or a stink over it. My point is that it seems like there is a market for gluten-free Play-Doh, therefore I predict it’s just a matter of time before the actual Play-Doh brand will make gluten-free products for those who are allergic. By no means am I putting down Hasbro or Play-Doh; I think they are both great :) And I love the way Play-Doh smells!

  3. by Hjordis Creel

    On January 7, 2013 at 8:04 am

    Hey Nick! Although technically a toy, when my kids (your age, as you well know) played with Play Doh, they had a food kit set! We could “make” vegetables, meats, bread, pies, etc. and of course you already mentioned how good it smelled…plus “doh” is just short for dough. I don’t know why Hasbro or parents, for that matter, would expect children not to want to try eating it! Why don’t they just make it edible to start with.

  4. by Lisa Milbrand

    On January 7, 2013 at 10:05 am

    There is actually a reason to worry about whether Playdoh is gluten free. My daughter has a wheat allergy that causes eczema. By going gluten free, we cleared most of the eczema, but she still had all these patches on her hands. We finally figured it out when we realized that she was playing with a wheat-based play dough every day at school. I made some gluten-free play dough for the school, and the problem was solved.