What concerns, if any, should I have regarding including ice-cream in a gluten-free diet?
Ice creams are generally gluten when they use basic ingredients like milk, cream, and sweetener(s). As you add flavors, including chocolate, vanilla and fruit, the risk of gluten exposure increases. Flavorings could contain gluten and need to be verified. Many popular ice creams add in obvious gluten-containing ingredients such as cookie or brownie pieces. If buying ice cream at a store, read ingredient labels on packaged ice cream carefully or choose products labeled gluten-free in accordance with FDA regulations or, for additional assurance, that are GFCO third-party certified as gluten-free.
When ordering from any food business including ice cream shops, ask questions. If a business serves cones that are not gluten-free, simply requesting a scoop in a dish instead of a cone does not guarantee safety. When previous cone orders were filled, the same utensil used to serve your ice cream could have been used to push a scoop onto a cone, possibly resulting in cross-contact with the gluten-containing cone, transferring cone crumbs into the ice cream container. When in doubt, be vocal about a need for assurance of a totally gluten-free product. Ask if there is an ice cream container that has not yet been opened that could be used, along with clean serving utensils, to guarantee that your scoop is free of cross-contact with gluten.