The Many Faces of Gluten

If you are well versed in the lingo of gluten free, this article may be full of information you know but in an easy one source resource you can share with the newbies. If however you are a new initiate into our gluten free fraternity, welcome! Below I have listed some of the most common gluten containing ingredients you may come across the next time you are leisure label reading at the grocery store, as well as some you may not have even known were gluten – those ingredients living under assumed identities. Lucky for us, a few years ago the FDA made identifying sneaky gluten in our food a bit easier by requiring American made products to clearly name them in the ingredient list (See the excerpt below from Still, because there is no requirement to overtly state “contains gluten“, many people don’t realize that the ingredient they are reading is a gluten containing ingredient (for example triticale which is a rye/wheat combo). Additionally, foreign manufacturers are not required to indicate the source of their ingredients so when purchasing a product manufactured outside the good ol’ USA, buyer beware. Gluten Concept How Gluten May Be Listed in Your Food:

  • Any Regular Flour (The kind you buy in the grocery store and the kind that most people think of when you say flour – whether it is white flour – which just means wheat flour that has been bleached – or wheat flour.)
  • Wheat
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Malt (Most malt is from barley, this includes malt vinegars and malt flavorings)
  • Malted Milk (No more malted milk balls for you my friend.)
  • Graham Flour
  • Spelt
  • Semolina
  • Farina
  • Duram
  • Wheat Germ
  • Brewer’s Yeast (Often used as a supplement)
  • Starch (If it’s a USA product that starch, unless stated otherwise, is from corn, tapioca, or potato. Products imported from foreign countries however may use wheat starch and label it as “starch”.)
  • Maltodextrin (Here in the states this is from corn but once again, if a product you are considering buying is from another country, that maltodextrin may be from barley.)
  • Triticale (a hybrid of wheat and rye)
  • Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
  • Matzo
  • Dinkel
  • Farro
  • Seitan
  • Bulgar
  • Fu

 Other Places Gluten Makes an Appearance That May Make You Slap Your Forehead

istock forehead slap

  • Stamps and envelopes that have paste (that stuff you lick to make the stamp or envelope seal is not safe and is most likely wheat paste)
  • Lipsticks, lip balms, lip glosses – many contain hydrolyzed gluten or even wheat germ and while you are hopefully not eating your gloss, you probably lick your lips.
  • Items labeled wheat free – do not make the leap that this means gluten free. A wheat free item may contain any number of glutenous grains including spelt.
  • Soy Sauce – although clearly marked in the list of ingredients, most people think only “soy” when talking about soy sauce but wheat is a major ingredient in making soy sauce.
  • Some hotdogs (Gluten used as a filler.)
  • Lunch Meat (Some add it in flavorings or as a filler.)
  • Sauce and Seasoning Packets (Used often as a thickener.)
  • Salad Dressings (Many are perfectly fine but check for those that use gluten ingredients, especially as a thickener.)
  • Veggie Burgers
  • Vegan or Vegetarian Meat Substitutes
  • Some Imitation Bacon Bits
  • Scrambled Eggs at Restaurants (Quite a few eating establishments add either wheat flour or pancake batter to their scrambled eggs to make them fluffier.)

Interesting links to continue your own investigation: Food Facts Allergen Guidance Food Guidance

 FDA’s Role:


To help Americans avoid the health risks posed by food allergens, Congress passed the Food Allergen Labeling and consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA). The law applies to all foods whose labeling is regulated by FDA, both domestic and imported. (FDA regulates the labeling of all foods, except for poultry, most meats, certain egg products, and most alcoholic beverages.)

  • Before FALCPA, the labels of foods made from two or more ingredients were required to list all ingredients by their common or usual names. The names of some ingredients, however, do not clearly identify their food source.
  • Now, the law requires that labels must clearly identify the food source names of all ingredients that are — or contain any protein derived from —the eight most common food allergens, which FALCPA defines as “major food allergens.”

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