Supermarket foods not labelled as gluten free but no gluten in ingredients list - are they ok?

Wondering if anyone has opinions or knowledge on this: I'm wondering why foods with no gluten listed on the ingredients list are not labelled gluten free, and if they do in fact contain gluten.

Earlier had some fresh soup made by a well known brand, with no gluten, wheat or barley listed, and now feel a bit iffy. Mostly I buy things labelled gluten free (and cook my own from scratch) but have always bought a few things that seemed ok from the ingredients list. But now I'm thinking NOTHING is ok unless it's specifically labelled.

Can anyone advise?

14 Replies

  • Often foods will not actually contain gluten-containing ingredients but will be made in the same place, using the same equipment, as naughty things, That can result in cross-contamination.

  • I think this must be it. At the start of being gluten free I took a chance on these things, alas, no more. Some manufacturers do specify, as you say, that there may be cross contamination, but this one doesn't.

    The path narrows further.

  • Maybe some of the other ingredients are suspect - preservatives etc. Also gluten can be disguised by the use of non recognisable wording. I think one of the coeliac websites covers that topic.

  • Thanks, I'll do more research. I think you're right generally, in this case, there were no preservatives in the soup, allergens were in bold. All wording recognisable.

    Think in that case they should specify, as some do - made in a place where gluten is also used.

  • Sometimes if it is something you particularly like write to the manufacturer and don't forget to mention the economic factor to them of customers then refusing to buy the food, usually works wonders !! I have seen several products correctly labelled in this way.

  • I think I will. It's inconvenient and annoying as otherwise a good product.

  • Hi frodo I have been glutened so many times in trusting labels that I read & say well I dont think there is any glyten in them but then I feel alful after eaten its the thickeners in the ready meals they put in that is the gluten so I would say to you babe only buy gluten free products that say it on the label or even better go for free from brands from tesco & asda that say free from gluten free from wheat this is a horrible disease coeliac its a evil pathogen disease & its hard enough keeping healthyif you dont stick to a gluten free diet so be safe & I always say before I eat food I am not sure of in in doubt leave it out patricia

  • I avoid gluten free foods that contain soya. It gives me a very wishy washy nausea feeling as if I have got a washing machine in my stomach full of soapy suds

  • Yeuch! Great description - I think I recognise that feeling. I get it from eggs and milk.

  • You definitely want to confirm that you are eating gluten free. Gluten proteins are very sticky and if something with gluten is packaged on machinery, then a product that does not naturally contain gluten is packaged, gluten contaminates that product. Companies that claim "gluten free" ensure that this does not happen as it would be a liability for them to make the claim of "gluten free" and not take measures to ensure the product is. Some things that have gluten that surprised us were mayonnaise, tea, nuts, spices, juice....

  • Thanks Mamacpj.

    OMG really - tea?! I've never seen tea labelled gluten free. Is there such a thing? I did have a bad reaction to some 'chocolate tea' I had in a cafe, and thought surely it couldn't contain gluten, but sounds like it's quite possible (and it wasn't even nice).

    Juice - also never seen juice labelled GF. I don't usually buy 'juice drinks' which have sugar and other stuff added.

    Mayonnaise - I usually get one from the health food shop which is egg free and I think GF, but bought a well known brand recently at the supermarket and saw it had the dreaded unknown 'flavourings' in it so haven't tried it.

    Nuts - I knew about dry roasted ones being flavoured with wheat based stuff, but thought plain or salted nuts were ok?

    Spices - can't imagine how they get gluten in them - again, have never seen any labelled GF either.

    Will have to do more research.

  • You're welcome Frodo! Yes, if you research "tea and gluten" you will see that there are many reasons why you must confirm that it is gluten free. I've read that some teas contain added gluten ingredients. Herbal teas can contain barley malt as a sweetener and some real teas have gluten grain based flavors. I believe that when people are told to go gluten free, they are not given enough information and more often than not, they think they are not allergic to it because they don't feel better. The store that I shop at (I'm in British Columbia, Canada) has green labels on the shelf so that you can determine if something is gluten free. However, I never buy anything unless it says "gluten free" or if it doesn't, I call the company or email them and ask. As for juice I was told that it is "fruit flavored" juices you have to watch out for. If you are wondering about a product google the item you are questioning and gluten in " - so "juice and gluten". I actually made a You Tube video last night as I think people need to be more informed about these issues. If you are interested here is a link to my video

    - I did start a Facebook Page several years ago as well. I found it very hard to determine what was/wasn't gluten free, the first few years my husband was diagnosed. The recipes for my videos are below the videos - click "Show More". Any items you need to confirm "gluten free" will have GF beside them. Here is my Facebook Page link

    This latest diagnosis really bothers me (diverticulitis). My husband had skin problems all his teenage life and they would just give prescriptions for it. Then he got eye conditions in his 40s episcleritis, uveitis and iritis. They gave him meds that made his nose bleed and he smelled "rotting flesh". I got scared at that point and starting doing my own research. The light came on when I remembered his mom had eye issues and she had been diagnosed celiac late in life as well. We immediately changed his diet and the conditions disappeared. Our GP was very surprised, but happy we told him about what we did. My video basically explains his journey.

    Good luck with everything! I hope we all can share our knowledge with one another. I am now going to research how to keep the diverticulitis attacks at bay and heal his colon. Hoping to connect with people who have learned how to do that. We can share our knowledge through social media, so awesome!

  • Thanks for this - yes, sharing knowledge on social media IS awesome.

    How awful for your husband but great that you found out what was going on. It seems so hard for medics to understand what is wrong at times, and reach a diagnosis.

    I'm going to watch your video now!

  • Sorry I sent this to you then answered a reply to another user and realized I had replied to you again. I'm glad you wanted to see it though.

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