If you have a child that’s newly diagnosed with celiac disease, or even if you’ve been gluten free for a while and are in search of what might still be making you or your child sick, this is an important blog for you. Most people know that gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. However, it takes on many different names in ingredients that you need to become familiar with so that you can be an expert label reader.
Food labeling has improved, and the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act requires that wheat ingredients be listed, but there are a few things to note. First, wheat free does not equal gluten free. Second, the labeling regulations only apply to meat, poultry, and egg products. Third, there are no regulations for barley, rye or contaminated oats.
Learning to read the labels and understand all of the different names takes some time and practice, but it is worth the time investment as it will keep those with celiac or gluten intolerance healthy.
Different names for wheat:
- Flour (bleached/unbleached)
- Matzo meal/flour
- Wheat Germ
- Wheat Grass
- Wheat Starch
The following can be made from wheat, so it’s important to check the source before purchasing:
- Hydrolyzed vegetable oil
- Natural Flavor
- Starch (modified, vegetable)
Different names for barley:
- Pearl barley
- Hulled barley
- Brewer’s yeast
- Caramel color
- Malt (malt extract, malt syrup, malt vineigar, malt flavoring)
Different names for rye:
Oats are debated amongst the gluten free community. While oats themselves do not naturally contain gluten, they are often grown on fields alongside wheat, so cross contamination occurs.
Different names for oats:
- Avena sativa (cosmetics and soaps)
I realize this is a lot of different names to remember, and nearly impossible to do without spending your entire day food shopping. My best advice is to cook a lot at home so you know exactly what ingredients you’re using and to buy brands that clearly label gluten free certifications.