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Finding the Hidden Gluten

What Products Contain Gluten?

Every person new to gluten intolerance or Celiac disease is instantly going to need to know what foods contain gluten and how to find the hidden gluten in the many products & foods we use daily. The shock will set in, yes gluten is hidden in pretty much everything in our lives, but it is not always going to be easily seen.

Maintaining a gluten free diet is very important to your health now. You probably know that gluten, a protein, is in anything made from wheat, rye, or barley. Did you know it’s also in some less obvious products, such as lunch meats, soy sauce and shampoo?

“Reading the ingredients label on the foods you buy and knowing what to look for are the keys to identifying and avoiding gluten,” says Shelley Case, RD, author of Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide.

We’ve simplified our hidden gluten lists to help you find the common and not so common items that contain and may contain gluten that you should avoid.

Additionally, we’ve also shared details on Gluten Free Labeling and the FDA rules behind this labeling type.

Check out our continuously growing lists of hidden gluten and don’t hesitate to share hidden gluten sources you’ve found using our form below to have your items added to our lists!

Find the Hidden Gluten

How to Read Ingredient Labels

Common Gluten Sources in Food

Gluten Sources in Home & Beauty

Gluten Free Labeling Rules & Regulations

How to Find Hidden Gluten and Read Ingredient Labels

All across the globe there are many food items that may contain gluten, often hidden in unexpected ways.

It is important to ALWAYS read the label of any product you purchase, even if “gluten-free” is specified on the label. Take ownership of your health and get into the habit of reading labels every time you’re shopping. Products are constantly changing and improving, and what you bought last week may not be safe this week.

Good news, there are many naturally gluten-free foods as well as plenty of gluten-free substitutes to choose from! If you can dream it, there is very likely an option that is safe for you.


There are several things you will want to look for to determine if the product you’re purchasing is in fact gluten free.

A Gluten Free Label

If a product claims to be gluten-free on the package, then it is most likely safe to eat as the FDA only allows packaged foods with less than 20ppm of gluten to be labeled “gluten-free.” However, you should still check the ingredients list.
It is also important to remember that “wheat-free” does not necessarily mean “gluten-free.”

Check the allergen listing

Some packaging has a list of common allergens found in the product. Such allergens include wheat, soy, egg, nuts, and milk. This list can be a quick way to rule something out if the package says: “contains wheat.” However, a lack of allergen labeling does NOT mean that the product is gluten-free.

Check all ingredients

If there is not a “gluten-free” label on the product packaging, read the ingredients label thoroughly.
Check for hidden or questionable ingredients. Some ingredients have the potential to contain gluten.
Wheat – Barley – Rye – Malt – Brewer’s Yeast – Oats (unless specifically labeled gluten-free)

Hidden Gluten in Food Products

Trips to the grocery store might take longer when you first go gluten-free. Plan on spending extra time reading the labels and educating yourself on the key words that signal a gluten ingredient. A dietitian can help you make sure you get all the nutrients you need and totally eliminate gluten if you are struggling maintaining a healthy gluten free diet.

Buyer Beware. Gluten free products are a little more expensive than food with gluten. Watch for sales, get in the habit of bargain shopping and watching for coupons, they will come in handy.

Don’t risk it, always ask. Call food companies to find out if their products include gluten, or the steps they take to make sure their products are gluten-free and how they avoid cross contamination in their manufacturing facilities.

The food industry is no longer like what Grandma made. It is highly recommended that you begin calling food manufacturers to confirm hidden gluten.

Gluten can be found in many food additives and processed foods. Many of the items below are commonly found in processed foods.

Regardless of gluten free status, many of these are not healthy, and it would be better to eliminate them as is.


– Wheat – Barley (malt) – Rye – Oats – Amaranth** – Buckwheat** – Corn (maize)* – Durum (SEMOLINA) – Einkorn – Emmer – Graham – Groat – MILLET* – RICE (does not include wild rice varieties but does include brown rice)* – Sorghum* – Spelt – Teff* – Triticale – Quinoa**

*These grains are classically considered gluten free but are not recommended on a gluten free diet.
** These items are technically not grains, but are at high risk for cross-contamination and not recommended on a gluten free diet unless verification can be obtained.


Gluten Free Journey is continuously updating the following lists with newly discovered food additives and processed foods that may contain gluten.

Have an addition for our list? Submit your glutenous items using our form below and help your fellow Celiacs stay gluten free.

Artificial Colours
Artificial Flavours
Baking powder (commonly contains grain – wheat or corn)
Bouillon cubes or stock cubes
Candy may be dusted with wheat flour; ask.
Canned soups – Most are not acceptable.
Caramel colour and flavouring
Cheese spreads & other processed cheese foods.
Chocolate – may contain malt flavouring.
Cold cuts, Wieners, Sausages – may have gluten due to cereal fillers.
DextrinDip mixes
Dry roasted nuts & honey roasted nuts
Dry sauce mixes
Extenders and binders
French fries in restaurants – Same oil may be used for wheat-containing items.
Gravies – check out the thickening agent and liquid base.

Honey Hams – can be based with wheat starch in the coating.
Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate
Hydrolyzed plant protein
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
Hydroxypropylated Starch
Ice Cream & Frozen Yogurt – check all dairy. Cows are fed grains and many react to dairy for this reason. Grass-fed dairy recommended (or avoid dairy altogether).
Instant Teas & Coffees – cereal products may be included in the formulation.
Maltodextrin (wheat or corn based)
Mayonnaise – check thickener and grain-based vinegar ingredients
Modified food starch

Mustard – Mustard powder may contain gluten
Natural Colours
Natural Flavours
Non-Dairy Creamer
Oil, frying – Check for cross contamination or corn-based oils.
Poultry and meats – Check out the flavourings and basting and inquire about meat glue
Pregelatinized Starch
Seasonings (check labels)
Smoke flavours
Sour cream – May contain modified food starch of indeterminate source.
Soy Sauce
Textured vegetable protein
Vegetable Gum
Vegetable protein
Vitamin supplements (different brands contain grain-based ingredients – check the labels carefully)

Common Hidden Gluten Sources in Home & Beauty Products

If you weren’t already worried enough, gluten is in far more than just the foods we eat. As we said earlier, we are always coming across more and more things with hidden gluten. Always keep your eyes open, it is pretty much in everything in our lives, under many different names.

Avoiding gluten can be hard in our society. Take the time to read labels, pick up the phone or head over to social accounts and ask companies about gluten. It is not uncommon for them to answer these questions, and your life depends on it!


The following are just a few of the surprising things we’ve discovered gluten hidden within:

– Detergents – Hairspray & Shampoo – Lipstick – Lotions – Makeup – Prescription Medications – Vitamins – Pet Food – Play-dough – Stamps & envelopes – Toothpaste

Gluten Free Food Labeling – Understand the FDA Rules & Regulations

There are quite a few rules and regulations behind the labeling of gluten-free products. This will vary dependent on where you live. It is important to understand the various rules behind gluten-free labeling to keep yourself safe.


Requirements for food products that may be labeled gluten-free…

A food product regulated by the FDA may be labeled gluten-free if:

There are going to be instances where food products that are naturally gluten-free, like bottled spring water or tomatoes, may be labeled “gluten-free.”

Did you know, manufacturers are not required to test for gluten to label a product “gluten-free”. Manufacturers are not required to test for the presence of gluten in ingredients or in the finished “gluten-free” labeled food product. However, they are responsible for ensuring that the food product meets all labeling requirements. Manufacturers will need to determine how they will ensure this.

Oats that contain less than 20 ppm of gluten may be labeled “gluten-free.” Oats do not need to be certified gluten-free.

What food products are covered by the FDA gluten-free labeling rules?


All FDA-regulated foods
Dietary Supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids)

Imported food products that are subject to FDA regulations

Not Covered:

Meat, poultry and unshelled eggs (and any other products regulated by the USDA)

Distilled spirits and wines that contain 7% or more alcohol by volume

Malted beverages made with malted barley or hops

Will there be a symbol to identify foods that meet the FDA definition of gluten-free?

The FDA has determined that consumers favour the label “gluten-free” to communicate that a food is free of gluten.

Manufacturers are allowed to include a symbol as long as it is truthful and not misleading. This does not mean all gluten-free foods will identify their GF status with the use of a symbol.

Does the FDA gluten-free labeling rule apply to foods served in restaurants?

The gluten-free final rule applies to packaged foods, which may be sold in some retail and food-service establishments such as some carry-out restaurants. However, given the public health significance of “gluten-free” labeling, the FDA says that restaurants making a gluten-free claim on their menus should be consistent with FDA’s definition.

How will the FDA enforce gluten-free labeling requirements?

The FDA may perform food label reviews, follow-up on consumer and industry complaints, and analyze food samples.

Consumers and manufacturers may report a complaint to an FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in the state where the food was purchased.

Contact FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition’s Adverse Event Reporting System called “CAERS” by phone, 240-402-2405 or email, CAERS@cfsan.fda.gov

Consumers and manufacturers can also report any complaint they may have about an FDA-regulated food (e.g., potential misuse of gluten-free claims on food labels) to an FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator for the state where the food was purchased. A list of FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators is posted at FDA’s website.

Reports should include:

Find Hidden Gluten in a Product? Submit it to our Hidden Gluten List!

Frequently Asked Questions

Gluten Free Recipes

Celiac Disease Resources

Click for Printable

Common Hidden Gluten Sources {Infographic}

18 Responses

  1. Greetings! Very helpful advice! It is the little changes that will make the most important changes. Many thanks for sharing!

  2. What about soaked-until-plump dried fruit like raisins, cherries, cranberries? Would that be too risky?

    1. Depends on what you’re soaking them in Natka! Raisins, cherries and cranberries are naturally gluten free, but soaked is now adding much more to them. Great question, thank you for asking 🙂

  3. Major thankies for putting this together. Really looking forward to reading more from you. Will read on!

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  6. I am so happy I found this. It is full of plenty of helpful facts, thanks for providing such easy information to understand! Going gluten free has been so overwhelming.

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