Finding gluten on labels can be pretty overwhelming if you don’t know what you are looking for! And, of course, there are many places gluten can hide.
Personally, I try to stay away from processed foods as much as possible. Thankfully, gluten doesn’t USUALLY hide in raw veggies, gluten-free grains, fruits and other whole foods!
To help clarify, I found a wonderful article on the NFCA (National Foundation of Celiac Awareness) that list some great tips:
Tips on Food Labels
– Look for a “gluten-free” claim. These claims are now regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (with full compliance required by August 5, 2014). Food can be identified as “gluten-free” if any gluten in the product is below 20 ppm.
– Gluten-free certification programs provide assurance that a product is made with good gluten-free manufacturing practices, and contains less than 20 ppm of gluten. Examples include the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness’s Gluten-Free Certification Program and the Gluten Intolerance Group’s Gluten-Free Certification Organization. If a product is certified gluten-free, then it is safe for a person with celiac disease to eat.
-Valid gluten-free claims include: “gluten-free”, “free of gluten”, “no gluten” and “without gluten”. Claims such as “made with no gluten-containing ingredients” and “not made with gluten-containing ingredients” do not have to comply with the 20 ppm rule.
– If there is no “gluten-free” claim, or if the product has not been certified as gluten-free, you will have to carefully go through the ingredient list to identify any obvious sources of gluten, and any hidden sources of gluten.
– Remember that gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and oats (unless they are pure, uncontaminated oats).
– If you do not see wheat on the package, then you must carefully examine the ingredient statement for the other sources of gluten: barley, rye and oats (unless they are pure, uncontaminated oats).
If you see any of these on the label, the food is not safe for you. However, these are not always easy to identify. Look for words like:
– Brewer’s yeast
– Hordeum vulgare (barley)
– Secale cereal (rye)
– In the United States, companies are not required to list the components of ingredients such as “natural flavor”, “color” or “spice” (unless it is a major allergen, e.g. wheat.) If you see any of these words on the package, exercise caution and consider calling the manufacturer to find out what makes up these ingredients.
– Also look for advisory labels. These are warnings, such as “this product may contain wheat”, that companies voluntarily put on products where there may be a risk of cross-contamination with an allergen. These would likely only identify wheat, not other sources of gluten.
You might also want to check out their article: Where Gluten Likes to Hide