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Malt Vinegar

Mise
Mise
36 Replies

Hello All

Is there a definitive answer on Malt Vinegar - i.e. is it or isn't it safe for coeliac?

Our friends at Coeliac UK give the seal of approval in that the amount of gluten will come in well under the 20ppm level after the fermentation/processing of the gluten is complete, and state most people only consume a small amount so, in their words it's ok.

Other sources of information on the suitability of malt vinegar say 'no way' and do not consume.So, for example, this is from 'www.verywellfit.com':

"Malt vinegar. This is the only vinegar that everyone agrees is strictly off-limits on the gluten-free diet—it's made from barley-based ale that's not distilled, so it definitely contains gluten. Avoid."

Interestingly this website also indicates that white vinegar starts life from barley malt also. Who knew!

So, any thoughts/experiences on this one?

I personally wouldn't touch it with a barge pole, but checking in terms of the cross-contamination risk of production lines where barley malt might be present.

*******************

TO UPDATE (04.11.19)

I've had email back from an independent gluten testing organisation who state they have low confidence in Malt Vinegar being ok after their own tests, and clarify that the testing of this product with ELISA is also dicey.

The FDA (the american equivalent to Food Standards Agency) state it's a no from them on Malt Vinegar also as it is not distilled, but simply fermented. I'm not sure if this is true for all Malt Vinegars, but they advise against them.

But CUK still state that it is fine, and will be passing that information to the food manufacturers that they advise for GF food and products, including restaurants and cafés that have their training. Their statement is attached in the image above.

I spoke to customer services at Sarson's and asked if their Malt Vinegar is GF. They clearly stated that 'no' it isn't. They said they use to assert that, but then changed that assertion in line with legislation. So they are clearly stating their Malt Vinegar is NOT gluten free.

The challenge we have is that malt vinegar may be a source of cross contamination if it's claimed to be GF but not, so either as an undeclared ingredient in a restaurant that believes it to be GF or on same production line as GF products. Just another thing to be aware of.

36 Replies
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pvanderaa

Apple Cider Vinegar with mother. Only thing that works for me.

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Mise
Mise
in reply to pvanderaa

Play it safe is always best.

1 like
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Aitjk

White wine vinegar is a pleasant substitute.

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FFNick

Malt vinegar is not acetic acid. It contains many things, one might be caramel derived from no idea what. So avoid and use proper acetic acid aka vinegar. derived from known sources, eg apple cider vinegar.

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Mise
Mise
in reply to FFNick

Thanks Nick.

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Benjamin123

I really would not risk malt vinegar. I have no idea why Coeliac UK have done a u-turn on this when all other web sources saying it's a no-go.

Apparently the ELISA test is also quite poor for accurate readings on fermented and distilled products.

GlutenFreeWatchDog did some independent research on Sarson's malt vinegar but not sure what the outcome of that was.

Coeliac UK seem to also be pushing malt barley generally as ok. I'm always astounded at the blatant disregard they have for the people they represent. They do not have the health of coeliacs in mind at all, and are just pushing utter tripe on people with their cross-grains symbol. I would shut that charity down for the food list/food recommendations alone. They should just stick to the research side and not peddle grim food and food recommendations.

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Mise

Thanks Benjamin. It is interesting that you have a poor opinion of Coeliac Uk. I've posted on here previously asking what people thought of them. I'm inclinded to agree with much of what you have stated. That's interesting on the ELISA test.

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Cooper27

Distilled barley malt vinegar is definitely ok, as the distilling process removes the gluten (so whiskey is also ok). I've never been clear on the rules for malt vinegar, so tend to stick to the white stuff.

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Mise
Mise
in reply to Cooper27

Thanks Cooper. Some sources seem to imply malt vinegar is not distilled but the white vinegar is. Seems a lot of conflicting information. I've emailed Gluten Free Watch Dog for their Sarson's vinegar research that another poster on here has mentioned, so will share that on here if the supply it. That's good that you state it's ok.

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Cooper27
Cooper27
in reply to Mise

Ordinary malt vinegar (the brown stuff) isn't distilled, the distilling process is what makes white vinegar clear.

The only thing I'm not clear on is when it's an ingredient, because I don't know if they distinguish between distilled and non-distilled vinegar when it comes to things like crisps.

1 like
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Mise
Mise
in reply to Cooper27

Yes, that is a conundrum. If they are told it's safe they maybe not. Sarson's claim their malt vinegar is GF but mention barley twice on the ingredients list. But as you state, if it's just an ingredient then will they flag it up? Worrying.

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MeTeeCee
MeTeeCee
in reply to Cooper27

Unfortunately not all whisky is ok, only the more expensive brands. I used to quite enjoy the occasional tot but I stick to brandy now because I've had some very bad reactions to whisky. I think the cheaper versions must add caramel colouring but they don't list it on label.

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Benjamin123

I find the US websites really helpful. I also like the Austrailian coeliac charity. I just think we are all being sold well short by the UK offering. I'm never short of amazed at Coeliac UK's 'advice'. My favourite is the gluten free beer that makes everyone ill but still have the cross grains logo on it. De-glutenised barley is full of gluten. It's a con.

The real challenge is the 20ppm measure and no research done by any coeliac charity anywhere (that I'm aware of) that has actually looked at how many people that does not work for. They keep saying it's only a very small number but everyone I know who has coeliac seems to have issue with it/discredits it. I would estimate it's a good 50% of all coeliac sufferers, but coeliac UK looks the other way!

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Cooper27

The guidelines are said to work for 90% of coeliac's, that's the official value given by WHO I believe (who are the ones that recommend the 20ppm threshold).

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Mise
Mise
in reply to Cooper27

Thanks Cooper, that's good info.

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Hil101
Hil101
in reply to Benjamin123

Coeliac uk evidently don't think that minorities matter

1 like
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Mise
Mise
in reply to Hil101

I do think we need a new charity for the minority number. It seems to need a bit of lobbying also.

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Mise
Mise
in reply to Benjamin123

You're not going low with the numbers there! Yes, the australian coeliac group has been mentioned on here quite a bit. They seem to take no margin of error as the standard. It would limit choice, but seems to be a safe bet.

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Hil101

Coeliac uk advice (8 years ago) that malt vinegar was OK kept me doubled up with stomach cramps until I eventually worked it out for myself. And they weren't interested when I told them. It's a serious issue because the health professionals follow their guidance. I think they are too tied in with the food industry. So it's a resounding NO to malt vinegar from me.

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Mise
Mise
in reply to Hil101

Ah, that's a shame you found out the hard way. Since going gluten free I just followed the advice that malt vinegar was a no go, but not sure where I took that info from. It just seems that one size does not fit all and Coeliac UK still push the one size. I find they do get a little bit militant when you question stuff also. I found that with the gluten free beer when I queried that with them

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jox1

as most people above - anything malted is problematic and if zero risk alternatives are available e.g. Apple cider vinegar - why risk it.

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Mise
Mise
in reply to jox1

Very true. My direction of travel on this was food labelled as GF but produced on same production/packing line as barley malt products. I had some issue with a product that turned out to be on production line with barley malt product that was given the go ahead as GF because it met the 20ppm criteria. I've figured malt vinegar may present a similar risk, so keen to hear thoughts on people's experiences of it/standard wisdom. I just don't understand why we even need barley malt on any safe list as it doesn't bring much to the party, other than for beer production. Malt vinegar (from memory) is good on chips, but beyond that the other vinegar options are so much nicer in dressings, etc. Yes, apple cider is really nice and good for dressings. I like the Aspinall brand.

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jox1
jox1
in reply to Mise

yes agreed - I too like the aspalls- and very occasionally their cider as well but I shouldn't really mention that.....

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Mise
Mise
in reply to jox1

Yes, that makes a nice dressing too ; )

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tmoxon

I also wish cuk would take a stronger stance and be more cautious, I wasted a small fortune on foods when first diagnosed due to the information what we could or couldn't eat. I think they think they might be helping us by thinking it gives us more choice, but if it's still causing some people issues it's no good. It's also very confusing for new coeliacs.

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Mise
Mise
in reply to tmoxon

I agree. As you say, it's seems to be about presenting as wide a range as possible but extending the risk factor. Most people want to get better and feel well, and I think most happy to sacrifice a few things along the way to get healthy. Find CUK strange at times to be fair on the old food list.

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tmoxon

Totally agree,the whole gf thing is a minefield for many and they hinder a lot of time instead of help. Also they are finding out more and more about the effect gluten has on us, whose to say in future they do discover these low gluten foods they say are ok end up causing problems for us, there are plenty of people who show no symptoms, it could be the foods they say are ok do damage us without us knowing?

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Mise
Mise
in reply to tmoxon

I agree. I think the research is not as extensive yet as what it could be. I had this conversation with CUK around the fact they are researching a cure but ignoring the elephant in the room of GF foods that may be keeping people ill. A cure is great, if possible, but the food issue is the massive issue for many. I've had a weird year or so where I've been having reactions to lots of GF labelled foods that I was previously ok with. It's unclear if I am not longer tolerant of the 20ppm or if it's other things like lectins. If I could go back in time I would have taken a year to just avoid all GF products in addition to gluten so as to get fully healthy. I don't trust anything about GF foods anymore.

I would suspect (my own theory completely) that the GF foods are keeping coeliacs ticking over at a very low level of illness, so under the radar but still damaging, and that maybe leads to bigger challenges down the line. But only my own theory.

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Ell17

I stick to Apple Cider Vinegar and white vinegar that is corn based. The same with alcohol, it must be from non-gluten grains and ideally gluten free certified.

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Mise
Mise
in reply to Ell17

I had no idea there was corn-based vinegar. Is that common?

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Ell17
Ell17
in reply to Mise

Common...no. But, thankfully Heinz Vinegar, at least in the US, is distilled from corn. It is the only readily available, affordable store brand that I know of that currently is at the moment.

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Mise
Mise
in reply to Ell17

Thank you for updating on that.

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Jerry

Hi Mise malt vinegar makes me ill and we are one of the few countries to consider it gluten free.

Being a diagnosed coeliac I see malt vinegar as toxic regardless of codex...🤢

I am not a member of Coeliac UK and will not let them make me ill just so they can turn a profit...

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Mise
Mise
in reply to Jerry

Thanks Jerry. It is a shocker. I've updated my original post as contacted UK Sarson's and they explicitly stated that their malt vinegar contains gluten and not for coeliacs. Every other source of info for malt vinegar states it's a no go apart from coeliac UK. I would like to see someone actually take them to court for the damage they are doing to people. I just see them as a bunch of frauds at this point who will endorse anything for a few quid.

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Fragilegut

20ppm seems like a lot when you consider that products in Australia are required to have no detectable gluten to be considered gluten free. Unfortunately however, this standard doesn't extend to restaurants etc who can claim any item is gluten free regardless of how it's prepared.

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Mise
Mise
in reply to Fragilegut

It's just bloomin lottery really. Seems that staying at home and cooking all food from fresh all of the time is the answer. Agree that I don't trust the 20ppm. I'd like to see much better research happening on that level in terms of the realistic impact it has over a longterm on individuals.

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