You may not have paid much attention to food labels in the past, but you now must, and these labels and logos are now your friends; once you understand how they work and what to look for, making safe gluten-free diet choices will become faster and easier.
Gluten free labelling
When you see gluten free on a label, you know these foods are suitable for a gluten-free diet. The term ‘gluten free’ is covered by law and can only be used on foods that contain 20 parts per million (ppm) or less of gluten. You might see this on specialist substitute products like breads, flour, and crackers, which may contain a small amount of gluten.
The good news is that you can easily tell if a product contains gluten because all packaged foods in the UK and the EU are subject to labelling laws that include rules about allergen information that must be provided on the label. This means that you can tell whether a product contains gluten-containing ingredients by looking at the label.
There is always the possibility of misunderstanding; in this case, there are some ingredients that are made from a gluten-containing cereal that has been processed in such a way that the gluten has been removed; these ingredients are safe for people with coeliac disease, so the manufacturer does not need to list the cereal from which they were derived.
‘May contain’ labelling
On some products, manufacturers may use labeling such as’may contain traces of gluten,’ indicating that there is a chance the product could be contaminated with gluten.
Coeliac UK videos on food labels
We’ve created two short videos with helpful tips to help you figure out which foods are gluten-free: one explains how to choose suitable foods, while the other debunks some of the most common myths about the diet and explains what information is on food labels.
Crossed Grain symbol
Food products with the Crossed Grain symbol on their packaging are gluten-free and safe for people with coeliac disease; different types of licenses are available depending on where the product is sold and what ingredients are in it. Learn more about the crossed grain symbol.
What does it mean if a product says may contain wheat?
The Celiac Disease Foundation is the nation’s leading disease advocacy organization for celiac disease and non-celiac gluten/wheat sensitivity. Products labeled “may contain” or “made on shared equipment with” wheat/gluten could contain more than 20 ppm of gluten.
What does trace amounts of wheat mean?
Many companies state on their labels that a food is “made in the same facility as wheat-containing foods,” “made on shared equipment with wheat-containing foods,” or “may contain traces of wheat” (which usually means the food is made on shared equipment) as a courtesy to allergic customers.
Is trace amounts of gluten OK?
Even trace amounts of gluten can cause adverse reactions in the 1% of people with celiac disease, including anemia and damage to the lining of their internal organs.
How do you read a wheat label?
Always read the entire ingredient label for wheat ingredients; they may be listed in the list of ingredients or in a u201cContains: Wheatu201d statement beneath the list of ingredients, as required by the federal Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA).
What does it mean when it says may contain?
When there is a chance that a food allergen may be present, some manufacturers voluntarily include a separate advisory statement on their labels, such as “may contain” or “produced in a facility.” In this case, the cracker label might state “may contain peanuts.”
When something says may contain milk?
When a label says “may contain milk,” it means the product was made in the same factory or on the same machines as other milk-containing products, so even if milk isn’t listed as an ingredient, there may be “traces” of milk present.
How do you know if you’ve been Glutened?
Symptoms to look out for include:
- Joint pain and body aches.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Stomach cramps.
How much is a trace amount in food?
A trace element is one with an average concentration of less than 100 parts per million (ppm) measured in the atomic count or less than 100 micrograms per gram in analytical chemistry.
Can celiacs eat things that may contain wheat?
If a product “contains” or “may contain” wheat or triticale, rye, barley, or oats, it is not recommended for celiac disease sufferers; however, oats can be consumed if the ingredient list specifies “gluten-free oats.”
Is it OK to eat gluten occasionally?
Even if you don’t have symptoms, eating gluten on a regular basis can cause damage to the small intestine; however, if the diet is strictly followed, the risk of long-term complications, such as gastrointestinal cancer, is greatly reduced.
Do I have to cut out gluten completely?
If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, a gluten-free diet is more than a choice; it is a medical necessity because there is no cure for these diseases and the only treatment is to eliminate gluten from your diet.
Is it OK to have gluten once in awhile?
MYTH: A person with celiac disease can tolerate a small amount of gluten in their diet once in a while; FACT: It’s best to avoid gluten entirely.
What is the first item to notice on a food label?
The number of calories per serving is the first thing to look for on a label, and the FDA’s new Calories Count program aims to make calorie information on labels easier to find by placing it in larger, bolder type. Serving size and number of servings per container
How can I avoid wheat in my diet?
12 Easy Ways to Get Rid of Gluten in Your Diet
- Choose gluten-free grains.
- Look for a gluten-free certification label.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables.
- Clean out your pantry.
- Avoid gluten-containing beverages.
- Bring your own food.
- Eat more nuts and seeds.