Label Reading 101

In August 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, after a nine-year process, finally ruled on what officially qualifies a food product as gluten-free. The FDA’s new standards went into effect this August 2014.

According to the FDA, five percent of food products currently labeled “gluten-free” actually contain more than 20 parts per million, which is enough to sicken those who are gluten-intolerant or suffer from celiac disease. The new FDA standards will require any food labeled gluten-free to contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten. For more about the FDA’s ruling and what it will cover, click here for a recent article in Washingtonian Magazine.

Label reading is an important ongoing practice. Product manufacturers can change ingredients or sources of ingredients at any time. Just because your favorite brand of ketchup was gluten-free 6 months ago, does not mean the ingredients on the new bottle remain free of wheat, barley, rye, oats, their crosses and derivatives today. To make things easier, we’ve compiled the following lists of  various ingredients in which gluten can hide. Some of these are straightforward while others may only contain gluten some of the time. REMEMBER, ALWAYS CHECK THE LABEL. CALL THE COMPANY WITH SPECIFIC QUESTIONS AND WHEN IN DOUBT, LEAVE IT OUT.

DCMCO Guide to Ingredient Names for Gluten
This is a list of items that definitely contain gluten. 
The DCMCO Team will update this list as needed. Please let us know if we’ve missed something!

  • Amp-isostearoyl hydrolyzed wheat protein
  • Barley, Barley grass (may contain seeds)
  • Barley hordeum vulgare
  • Barley malt
  • Beer (Ale, Stout)
  • Bleached flour
  • Bran
  • Bread flour
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Brown flour
  • Bulgur
  • Cake flour (meal)
  • Cereal
  • Binding
  • Couscous
  • Dextrimaltose
  • Disodium wheatgermamido peg-2 sulfosuccinate
  • Durum flour
  • Edible starch
  • Einkorn
  • Emmer
  • Farina
  • Filler
  • Flour (usually means wheat flour)
  • Fu (dried wheat gluten)
  • Gliadin
  • Gluten
  • Graham flour
  • Granary flour
  • Groats (barley, wheat, oat)
  • Hard wheat
  • Hydrolyzed wheat gluten
  • Hydrolyzed wheat protein
  • Hydrolyzed wheat protein pg-propyl silanetriol
  • Hydrolyzed wheat starch
  • Kamut
  • Macha wheat
  • Malt (made from barley)
  • Malt Extract, flavoring, syrup, or vinegar
  • Malted milk
  • Matzo meal, semolina
  • Mir
  • Oat bran, oatmeal, oats, rolled oats, groats, flour
  • Oriental wheat
  • Pasta
  • Pearl barley
  • Persian wheat
  • Polish wheat
  • Poulard wheat
  • Rice Malt (if barley or Koji are used)
  • Rye
  • Seitan
  • Semolina Spelt, small
  • Sprouted wheat or barley
  • Stearyldimoniumhydroxypropyl hydrolyzed wheat protein
  • Strong flour
  • Suet (in packets)
  • Textured Vegetable Protein – TVP
  • Triticale (a wheat-rye blend)
  • Triticale X triticosecale
  • Triticum vulgare flour lipids, germ extract, germ oil
  • Udon (wheat noodles)
  • Unbleached flour
  • Vavilovi wheat
  • Vegetable starch
  • Wheat (Abyssinian hard, club, common, durum, timopheevi, bulgur, Shot)
  • Wheat bran extract, amino acids
  • Wheat berries
  • Wheat durum triticum
  • Wheat germ, germ extract, germ oil, or lipids
  • Wheat grass (may contain seeds)
  • Wheat nuts, protein or starch
  • Whole wheat, flour
  • Wild einkorn, emmer

DCMCO Guide to Products that May Contain Gluten.
Use this list as a resource for choosing safe gluten-free foods and cosmetics. The ingredients listed here could contain gluten, and the origins of the ingredient should be known before you consume or use a product containing an ingredient from this list.

  • Anti-Caking Ingredients
  • Artificial Color
  • Artificial Flavoring
  • Binders
  • Bouillon, cubes or powder
  • Broth
  • Caramel
  • Color, Coloring
  • Cold cuts and processed meats
  • Cereal
  • Cheese/Blue Cheese, Bleu Cheese (starting molds may be introduced on bread crumbs)
  • Communion Wafers
  • Creamed vegetables
  • Curry powder (spices sometimes contain undisclosed flour to improve flow)
  • Demiglace
  • Dextrins
  • Dressings
  • Emulsifiers
  • Excipients
  • Farina
  • Fillers
  • Flavor, Flavoring
  • Food Starch
  • Glucose Syrup
  • Gluten
  • Gravy
  • Gum Hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP)
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)
  • Imitation bacon, crab, seafood
  • Ketchup
  • Leavening Maltodextrin
  • Maltose
  • Miso
  • Modified Food Starch
  • Mustard (wheat flour may be a hidden ingredient)
  • Mustard Powder
  • Natural Flavor, Natural Flavoring
  • Non-Diary Creamers
  • Rice Syrup (may use barley enzymes)
  • Salt Mixes
  • Seasoning
  • Shortening (possible added vitamin E from wheat germ)
  • Shoyu (soy sauce)
  • Smoke Flavoring
  • Soba Noodles
  • Sour cream
  • Soup Base
  • Soy Sauce
  • Spices (may contain flour to improve flow)
  • Stabilizers
  • Starch
  • Stock, pre-made Stock cubes or powder
  • Syrups
  • Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP, same as HVP)
  • Tomato Paste (hidden ingredients may include HVP)
  • Vanilla or other flavored extracts
  • Vegetable Gum
  • Vegetable Shortening (possible added vitamin E from wheat germ)
  • Vitamin E
  • Yogurts

Remember the DCMCO rule for safe eating: “If you don’t know, then NO!”

Gluten-Free Food Additives T
This list, from the Children’s National Medical Center Celiac Disease Program, includes food additives that are safe for people with celiac disease. Unless otherwise noted on the food item label, these additives are considered gluten-free:

  • Acacia gum
  • Adipic Acid
  • Algin
  • Annatto
  • Aspartame
  • Baking Yeast
  • Benzoic Acid
  • Beta Carotene
  • BHA
  • BHT
  • Brewers yeast
  • Brown Sugar
  • Calcium Disodium
  • Carrageenan
  • Caramel Coloring
  • Carboxymethyl
  • Carob Bean Gum
  • Cellulose
  • Corn Syrup
  • Cream of Tartar
  • Dextrose
  • Distilled Vinegar
  • Ethyl Maltol
  • Frutose
  • Fumaric Acid
  • Gelatin
  • Glucose
  • Invert Sugar
  • Karaya Gum
  • Lactic Acid
  • Lactose
  • Lecithin
  • Malic Acid
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maltol
  • Mannitol
  • Methylcellulose
  • Monosodium gultamate (MSG)
  • Papain
  • Pectin
  • Polysorbate
  • Propylene glycol
  • Psyllium
  • Sodium Benzonate
  • Sodium Metabisulphite
  • Sodium Nitrate
  • Sodium Sulphite
  • Sorbitol
  • Spices (100% pure)
  • Stearic Acid
  • Sucralose
  • Sugar
  • Tartaric Acid
  • Tartrazine
  • Titanium Dioxide
  • Vanilla Bean
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Xylitol
  • Yam
  • Yeast

FAQs: Celiac Disease FAQs: Gluten Sensitivity