Reading labels

Reading labels

Reading food labels is important when searching for strictly gluten free food. Knowledge on food composition, processing of food ingredients and risks of contamination on the manufacturing line definitely helps here.

The gluten containing grains were listed in a previous post.

Keep in mind

  • ‘Gluten free’ does not mean strictly gluten free, it means that the product contains <20 ppt of gluten.
  • ‘Gluten free’ does not mean ‘Wheat free’. 40% of people with celiac in the Nederlands can not tolerate wheat starch.
  • ‘Wheat free’ does not mean ‘Barley free’.
  • Processed meat like sausages, lunchmeat, hot dogs, chicken nuggets etc. can contain gluten. Gluten is often used as a binder in these products.
  • Packaged, marinated or covered with spices meat/fish/sea-fruits  can contain gluten. It is not, however, specified on the package.
  • The wheat and barley derived food ingredients  are polluted with traces of gluten.
  • 30% of grains that are inherently gluten free (like amaranth, buckwheat, oat) are contaminated with gluten.
  • According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), testing done on a random wheat starch using the R5 ELISA found gluten in amounts up to 279 ppm.
  • Wheat starch hydrolysates (e.g. glucose syrup, maltodextrin) were found to contain intact gliadin and gluten peptides, but the amounts were rather low (< 5 ppm of gluten for maltodextrin and up to 25 ppm in the glucose/dextrose samples).
  • If you don’t see the word wheat on an FDA-regulated product containing maltodextrin, the food product does not contain wheat protein.

List of food ingredients that can be made of wheat or barely and their applications.


Fig 5-6

Fig 5. Official ‘gluten free’ logo. It is present on the products that were tested on gluten contamination (<20 ppm).
Fig 6. The ‘Gluten free’ mark designed by Albert Hein supermarket. The products with this logo are not tested on the gluten contamination. It is highly recommended to read the ingredients list.

 Products safe for people with Celiac Sprue are certified as on a below picture.




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