Is vinegar gluten free?

I had a uncle bens sweet and sour cooking sauce last night and after a couple of hours started to experience my usual 'I've been glutened' symptoms. Checked the label, it contained vinegar but didnt say which kind. Googled it and there seemed to be a lot of conflicting advice. The sauce is listed as gf on coeliac website. If it's not that, I don't know what caused the symptoms as everything else was def gf. Any thoughts ?

11 Replies

  • I think all vinegar is safe except malt.

    Feel free to correct me, anyone, if I'm wrong! ;-)

  • I always thought Vinegar was a no go, but in the new food and drink 2012 book from coeliacUK it says all vinegar including Malt Vinegar is ok, although i havent been brave enough to test this out yet!!


  • This is what CUK say on their web site:

    Barley malt vinegar is made using a fermentation process. The end product only contains a trace amount of protein (and therefore gluten), which is well below the level which is safe for most people with coeliac disease. In addition, barley malt vinegar is only usually eaten in small amounts, for example, drained pickled vegetables, sauces with a meal, on chips.

    Malt vinegar is not classed as gluten free in all countries, so I guess it's down to the individual coeliac tolerance level to gluten. So obviously if you can tolerate malted cereals which are below codex you should be all right with malt vinegar.

    I can not tolerate these ''allowed'' levels of gluten so avoid all gluten and I use cider vinegar.

  • You can only have spirit vinegar, so the label must say that to be safe. Only use the coeliac uk book as a guide, you still need to check the labels, I soon learnt this!!


  • I find anything with barley malt extract is not good. I therefore avoid anything with barley or malt vinegar even if stated ok in the Coeliac handbook, such as Branstons pickle and malt vinegar. I also use cider or wine vinegar instead of malt.

  • I'm the same as Nickyr73 above.

    Just a thought, but doesn't sweet n sour sauce have soy sauce in it too?

  • What about balsamic vinegar, is that ok ?

  • Balsamic vinegar is made from grapes so should be UK. It's always worth checking the label as cheaper ones can have caramel colour derived from wheat. You also have to be careful with Balsamic vinegrettes served in restaurants as they are often thickened to make them creamier, so again it's always best to ask.

  • Thanks Jerry :) I only use it at home and haven't had dressings on any kind on salad when eating out for years anyway - I was already suspicious about lactose in my diet so used to steer clear just in case :)

  • When I was diagnosed Malt vinegar was a big NO, NO. I thought I would die without it on my chips! I started using cider vinegar and thought no more about it. When I did the gluten challenge (as in eating gluten on purpose) I couldn't wait to put Malt vinegar on my chips - it suddenly didn't taste good at all - I preferred the cider vinegar! A year after diagnosis and Malt vinegar is in the okay group. Funny that.

  • Definitely call the company for any product with distilled vinegar in it. I react as well if it is derived from a gluten source . I keep reading that distilled vinegar is fine but not for me if it is from a gluten source. Watch out for any sauces that have alcohol in it ie. hickory bourbon bbq sauce seemed to cause an issue and the vinegar is from corn so must be the bourbon that caused an issue.

    Good luck!

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