Gluten-Free Label Reading

One of the first steps in switching to a gluten-free diet is learning to read labels. Here are some helpful tips on how to pull this off successfully.

There are a couple of steps to determine if a food product is gluten-free. First, see if wheat is in the ingredients list or if it’s listed in an allergen statement. If it is, forget about it—the product isn’t gluten-free. However, if wheat isn’t listed, the second step is to read the ingredients list and see if barley, rye, or malt, malt flavoring (which can be made from barley), malt vinegar (made from barley), or triticale are listed (celiac patients are advised to consult with their doctor about including oats in their diet). If any of these are present in the ingredients, the product isn’t gluten-free. If none of these are listed, then the product is gluten-free and safe for you to eat. You can always call the manufacturer to be certain that the manufacturing process doesn’t permit cross-contamination.

The passing of the food allergen labeling law was a landmark victory for the celiac community. The law was the first step in empowering the celiac consumer who, with these helpful tips, can study food labels to make sure his diet stays truly gluten-free.

Tina Turbin

From our home to yours, Tina Turbin
If you have any questions or suggestions just email me at info (at)

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I'm a cookbook-collecting, recipe-developing paleo junkie, and I live in the kitchen. I'm hooked on farmers' markets, traveling, eating healthy, and hiking until my legs scream at me. There's nothing better than hanging out with family and good friends. I have fun and sleeping is just plain boring. Read more About Tina Turbin.

5 thoughts on “Gluten-Free Label Reading

  1. Thanks! I’m still pretty new to this stuff. It’s really scary! It also takes me almost twice as long to go grocery shopping! I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it soon, and I’ll soon have some tried-and-true gluten free foods, although I am aware that you should always make sure you have the most up to date info on companies because they can change their ingredients or methods of processing just like that!

  2. This is nearly exactly what I do to see if foods are gluten free or not! It used to take me forever to go grocery shopping because reading the ingredients took so long, but then after about three weeks I got much faster, and better (I still accidentally ingested gluten the first couple weeks because I wasn’t educated enough at the time). Now I have the task of teaching my 5 year old daughter how to read labels too!

  3. I literally sat myself down with a list of off-limits ingredients and memorized it, even the most complicated-sounding stuff of all. I didn’t rely on my memory though alone and still bring a list with me wherever I go. Still I recommend just memorizing a list because you’re more likely to spot things. You go, “Oh, wow, I know that ingredient! I just memorized it!” Also it’s a good idea to look up the complicating-sounding ingredients to say what they’re used for because you’re more likely to spot ingredients that you know and understand well.

  4. Hi Tina thank you for posting this. I was just diagnosed with celiac disease and now I’m trying to figure out how to live my life gluten free. I’ve gone grocery shopping only twice so far and will use this advice for the next time I go. It’s pretty overwhelming but overall this is a good thing I know, as my health problems (mostly gastrointestinal and headaches) can finally go away. Plus I know I won’t be leaving myself at risk for really serious problems in the future like cancer.

  5. I read your article on gluten free label reading, but what about modified food starch?? I was told that was NOT gluten free? Is this true? My 17 yr. old son was just diagnosed and we are really struggling. Breakfast and lunches are Ok, but eating out what he wants to have and lunch at school, is torture for him. He likes nothing I can send him for lunch. He misses his bagels, which he used to eat most days at school. Thanks!

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