Gluten Free Guerrillas

Are Knorr Stock Cubes safe for coeliacs? They contain both Maltodextrin and Yeast Extract!!

I have got into the habbit of always checking labels whenever possible before using products that I have bought when I am at home.

I have had ALARM BELLS RING as looking at a recently purchased Knorr Stock Cube Packet of 20 I found them to contain both Maltodextrin and Yeast Extract. Whilst the packet does say 'gluten free' I am left feeling that it is 'unsafe' and therefore NOT WORTH THE RISK .. in using it.

Whilst trying my best to find out more information about where these items are sourced and therefore are they really safe and contain no gluten - I came across the Anthony Warrall Thompson ones that are definitely 'FREE FROM GLUTEN AND YEAST' so look as though they may well be the best option.

Has anyone any thoughts on this - can anyone shine any light - and why-oh-why is any stock cube company using either yeast (possibly grown on barley) and maltodextrin (whose source may be change at any time)??

38 Replies

If it says 'gluten free' then it's been tested to be less than 20ppm... I've never had any problem with them personally. I've bought the AWT ones too but I have a feeling they are more expensive?


If they are - less than 20ppm then I would not risk having them - so thanks for the advice. AWT ones it is then ..

The AWT ingredients are:

Salt, Black Pepper, Corn Starch*, Non-Hydrogenated Palm Fat*, Chicken Fat* 7%, Onions*, Sugar*, Celery*, Chicken Meat Powder* 2%, Spices*, Natural Flavouring.

*Organically grown


Produced in a factory handling sesame seeds.

The stock cubes contain raw cane sugar and no beet / beetroot.

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I too have used the Knorr ones without any problems.


Hi Lynxcat, in the EU maltodextrin is usually made from wheat and can contain traces of gluten and many super sensitive coeliac have issues with foods both clearly labelled as gluten free and contains maltodextrin.

Here's a link from a US site about maltodextrin and it says about maltodextrin in the EU.

And the EFSA did tests on a few coeliac and those who are wheat intolerant with maltodextrin from wheat and dextrose from wheat with a gluten content of 30ppm and some individuals had a reaction to these levels.

To me maltodextrin from wheat falls into the category of ''allowed gluten'' and unless I know the source I avoid it. Sadly I also do not trust the label gf as safe for me but below a certain level. So I avoid many foods clearly labelled as gluten free.

In Australia and NZ maltodextrin from wheat has to be labelled as such and to be classed as OK for coeliac be below 5ppm and coeliac are warned about wheat derivatives in case they are super sensitive.

The labelling laws in the UK and the EU means that wheat deriv's do not have to be labelled as such and you can check this out on the FSA web site.

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Stupid laws simply.


Sadly Jerry, I think that my problem could well have been created by originally seeing it as 'safe' in the CUK food directory .. which until I found GFG I did consult as an authority of safe foods for coeliacs. Surprisingly, just before I found this site I had found one or two items that had shocked me. I knew nothing about Codex and Codex wheat starch and so when I saw listed in ingredients wheat starch on certain products - it did send alarm signals through me. As even in my new raw days of accepting the diagnosis, I remember thinking how could anyone ever think that it could be advisable or safe to eat one of these grains from the 'gluten' family. I also had some of the free items from various companies that do speciality items for coeliacs - usually available only on prescription - and when they arrived some too had wheat starch!!!! Needless to say - I did not eat them. How could the NHS use companies that offer coeliacs food with wheat starch? And more to the point - why do these companies add wheat starch? It surely may eventually come back to haunt them - imagine in years to come if a group of coeliacs that have eaten these foods end up contracting something vile and unimaginable just through eating these products. I wonder if there are any coeliacs now that have developed refractory coeliac disease through eating these products? Could it ever be worth the risk? I think not!!

Anyway, back to the subject in hand. I have not yet checked out the Antony Worrall Thompson stock cubes - but they do look worth keeping in the cupboard for when a stock cube is required, as their contents are as follows:

Salt, Black Pepper, Corn Starch*, Non-Hydrogenated Palm Fat*, Chicken Fat* 7%, Onions*, Sugar*, Celery*, Chicken Meat Powder* 2%, Spices*, Natural Flavouring. *Organically grown

So .... perhaps on my next shopping list .... :)


Hi Lynxcat another controversial Blog LOL. I personally can not tolerate these low levels of gluten so that has made me question what's really in my food.

I am a great believer in us the consumer being aware of what we really eat so would love to see what deriv's labelled as exactly that so coeliac like myself and those who are wheat intolerant would know for sure what's what.

One things for sure and that's the allowed level of gluten in gf food is coming down and not going up.


I am always so wary with foods I buy now, Jerry. I also do not believe that one could assume that because there may not be any visible reaction would necessarily mean that something was safe.

So far all of the sites that I have visited recognise that Coeliac Disease is an autoimmune disease and so can spread in the form of other diseases if gluten is retained in the diet. Many mention the liklihood of development of Refractory Coeliac Disease, Dermatitis Herpetiformis, Cancer, Lymphoma, Reduced Bone Mineral Density - there are many more but also apparent is the liklihood of persistent Constipation. No one ever, I believe has proven how little or much any of the diseases that may develop through continually having small amounts of gluten actually arises. Have you ever heard of a study that has been done regarding whether they even know how much it takes for other conditions to gallop through the body?

I am so glad that gluten in GF food is dropping - but please, please, please, please bring on the 0ppm to 5ppm so that hopefully all of these additional diseases will not hopefully come and attack those of us with Coeliac Disease.

You know me and my little added notes - well this is not really the right place for it but I wondered how many might have read through the advice that is given out by NICE - if not it makes quite a read - I suggest that those who can, at least have a cursory look:

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Kallo seem to be fine


yes Kallo seem ok and are more delicious imo


I agree. IMO AWT ones are not nice nor is his instant gravy!


I've been using Marigold bouillon powder with no problems.

The maltodextrin thing is interesting - I kept being glutened by packets of crisps that were labelled gluten free and this stopped once I cut out the ones containing maltodextrin. I'd never have known it was an issue if I hadn't read it here.


Make your own stock simple. I do.


I too use Knorr and Kallo and Bovril cubes no problems. :-)


Originally I thought both Knorr and Kallo were both safe - I would never risk maltodextrin and have concerns with the yeast extract ......

Isn't yeast extract grown on barley?

I know that Marmite is not safe and other brands of yeast extract in jars - so is there a difference?


I've never had any problems with with Knorr stock cubes.

Marmite is yeast Extract and I have an e-mail from them confirming that it is gluten free.

Maltdextrin is also used in some sweetners. I haven't had a problem with this either. I checked this out with the hospital dietician. Her reply was along the lines that it was such a heavily processed "food" that any residual gluten levels would be minimal.

Hope this helps


Hya, I think that it depends on how sensitive we are to traces of gluten in maltodextrin, from wheat. Obviously if you can tolerate codex wheat then you should also tolerate traces in maltodextrin.

Also marmite is made with spent brewers yeast and also contains traces of gluten Lynxcat posted an article from where they tested Marmite at around 30ppm so it used to be classed as gluten free when we had 200ppm. I asked Coeliac UK why they listed Marmite as gf in their directory when we had 200ppm and they replied that they did not flag foods that were at the low end of codex.

The Marmite factory is located a mile from the Bass brewery and they pay Marmite to remove the spent brewers yeast from brewing. And Marmite is not classed as suitable for coeliac in many countries because it has traces from the malt in the beer.

Sadly not all coeliac can tolerate these low levels of gluten however minimal they are.


Jerry, I have a gluten test kit and a couple of tests left to use. I shall test out on marmite. The test allows me to test for below 20ppm so it could be interesting.

I use Knorr/Kallo and Bovril as well as have marmite on occasions without out any problems. Is that because I don't have them every day I wonder? I also have codex bread without any ill effects although I cannot eat anything with the psyllium in it without being very ill(like being gluttoned but without the DH)

Whiskey is a complete no go area and my consultant says it isn't GF but again there are very conflicting views.

I do wonder whether our bodies being so very individual have different tolerances and what is right for one doesn't suit another at all. Or is it because although I have certain foods which have barley malt/codex wheat etc so infrequently that I don't have a build up to cause me problems?


Hi Jill, I think that when coeliac ingest low levels of gluten it affects us in different ways. When we had 200ppm I read research that stated that with the majority of coeliac small levels of gluten only affected the upper gut tract which's much less sensitive but some coeliac still had a reaction to these levels.

Also if you think about how gluten affected you before diagnosis and the dramatic effect since being gf shows how we do build up a tolerance to it so if a coeliac has codex regularly then wheat deriv's are not going to have a noticeable effect. I have been diagnosed for 18 years and have noticed on other forums coeliac who ate codex regularly after a long holiday abroad without codex suddenly found they had a reaction to it.

I introduced codex after a few months of being gf and after my 2nd biopsy so I knew that my villi had recovered and my blood levels were good but my blood levels dropped but I didn't have a serious gluten reaction to it. I also used to really like Marmite and would often have it on toast for supper but would wake up the next day with mouth ulcers.

I was curios why these foods made me ill and having worked for many years in higher education I looked further afield for answers. And in the UK I am a super sensitive coeliac but in Australia and NZ I am an ordinary coeliac.

Now whisky, the problem with some whiskies is they store it in used wooden Sherry barrels which gives the whisky extra flavour but contaminates it with gluten.

It will be very interesting to see how Marmite comes out in your tests. Incidentally I asked Marmite a few times if after Jan 2012 when the new 20ppm come into force would Marmite still be classed as gf and they have never replied and it is not in the current Coeliac UK food list.

And this may interest you:


Hi Jerry, Well I've done the test on Marmite and it has come out as less than 5ppm.

I also tested malt vinegar and because I like it on my chips (not often had) i tested for less than 20ppm which it passed. I do have one test left in the pack so I might retest for less than 5ppm but then I might be tempted to eat chips more often.

I get annoyed when companies can't be bothered to answer queries. I recently emailed the artisan cheese society because someone said that some artisan blue cheeses might have gluten in them and I wanted to find out which cheeses they might be reply.


Hi Jill, thanks for this and going to the trouble. Interestingly in the US products containing barley malt are not allowed to be labelled as gluten free even if under 20ppm. There are also issues with testing barley as the standard gluten ELISA test is for wheat gluten, please see:

At least now that you've tested Marmite you know that it only contains traces so good for you.

The issue with some blue cheeses is the mould spores that give the blue streaks, this is on the Canadian coeliac societies site about blue cheeses so this may interest you:

So thanks again for testing Marmite and the feedback. And now you should be able to eat some blue cheeses safely.


Thanks for the link about blue cheese...I shall pass this onto the person who originally got me questioning it. I can now eat my stilton sauce on steak without any worries at all.

Do you find that someone only has to put a suggestion into your head and then you start yo worry?


Hi Jill, I find that I question things all the time rather than taking them at face value.

Before diagnosis I used to buy these amazing pasty's from an independent family bakers and my favourite was the beef and stilton.

And I know what I would try first if ever there is a cure for enjoy your steak and stilton sauce.


Jill, I know that you are asking for Jerry to answer this - so sorry for adding any thoughts of my own.

When you say that you have no ill effects when eating either Codex items or Marmite or other products that you believe have up to 20ppm ......... the thing that would concern me is if we relate that to other health positions, would we see things differently. For instance, many years ago my father was in an orthopedic hospital. Whilst he was there there were quite a few children in the various wards. He asked one of the doctors why they were there. Apparently because of religious reasons their parents did not feed them any meat - the result (may be also because of influence through moving from their own country to this one and therefore a change in other food items) was that they developed a sort of laying down of bone forming into lumps that had to be surgically removed. The dieticians and doctors tried to explain that their diets needed to include meat .. but the children often had to return and have yet more lumps removed. Their diet was wholly to blame - it may or may not have occurred if their parents hadn't moved to this country .. perhaps it may have happened over many years under different circumstances or not at all. Another instance is someone that I knew developed asthma (it wasn't in her family) she was in close proximity to someone who smoked .. the asthma became worse and eventually turned into lung cancer and sadly she passed away .. both she and her family were told that it was due to being in second hand smoke over a period of years. By the time her symptoms showed the damage had already begun and the result was her death.

I could site more .. but I won't .. my point really is what if, although there may not be any apparrent symptoms through using either Codex wheat or malt or other grain product there is silent damage occurring? Damage that may be to organs, bone, or a potential trigger for a secondary autoimmune disease or one of the other 300 or so health issues that potentially may develop with coeliac disease when gluten is not compeltely removed from the diet. To the best of my knowledge there doesn't appear to be any tests to conclude that tiny amounts of gluten are 100% safe and will not cause secondary diseases. So although anyone who is not super sensitive might choose to include these tiny amounts of gluten in their diet and believe because they are not having headaches or being sick of getting any other visible symptom that they are safe to keep eating - what if they are wrong? I have seen other posts where people claim that they have been eating Codex items, etc for years without any ill effect .. but truly how could anyone claim that .. they can claim without any knowledgable visible effect .. but that is not a conclusive guarantee of permanent safety. So, I do hope that you are right .. I do hope that people who continue to eat food made from grain and are within the WHO permitted Codex limit will remain healthy. I have given this a lot of thought and really feel that I personally, would rather not take the risk .. it may be a tiny risk .. it may be like walking on thin ice .. I do not know. To me it would be like knowingly eating something that contained arsenic, I wouldn't choose to do that because of potential consequences and rightly or wrongly feel just the same about these tiny gluten particles. That might sound melodramatic. I just think it so very, very risky.

Out of interest - does the testing kit show much lower ppm? In other words would it show if something contained gluten of any amount?


the test can also be done to less than 5ppm. All research says that nothing can ever be guaranteed to be 0ppm gluten free due to the world we live in. I thought since I have a couple of tests left that I'd do it for the 5ppm and see what I get.

On the other lines, very difficult to prove about other health issues since they can have so many things that could cause them. A close friend of mine has cancer...started in her lungs...a non smoker who has been a virtual organic veggie all her idea what caused hers.

I believe that if my bloods are good and if I am feeling fit and healthy, then I'm doing ok.


Hi Jill, I think that it's a great idea doing a test on Marmite so please let us know the results.

Being very sensitive to gluten makes those that are question whether allowed levels of gluten have an insidious effect on less sensitive coeliac. And I openly would like to see gluten free mean undetectable gluten.

I also feel that regardless of our sensitivity to gluten and whether we can eat codex or whether we choose to eat codex does not matter as at the end of the day 'we' are all coeliac and have the same fear of being glutened.


If you are having problems with marmite it may be that you are sensitive to yeast (and probably other fermented products).


I think it is more likely to be the barley. I used to eat Marmite quite regularly - I decline to do so now merely because of the fact that it has links to barley (yeast grown on barley the same as Vegimite) - and thus cross-contamination. According to most of the information I have read all of the yeast extracts that are sold in jars are all not suitable for coeliacs - therefore not worth the risk of exposing us to gluten and its ravaging effects on the body.


Hi lynxcat you are correct re vegemite. The allergen statement on the label states contains barley (that word again) so not suitable for coeliacs. And no aussie would eat marmite anyway.


Lol!! I do have connexions in your part of the world. Marmite had a boost in recent times as people who eat it daily become aborent to misquitoes and so never or extremely rarely get bitten .. shame they can't ditch the barley malt and perhaps produce it into a tiny pill and launch it onto the world!! ;)

I was recently reading a report which suggested that very few coeliacs ever recover fully internally as they never completely flush out all of the gluten from their diet. It made for pretty dire reading ..

"...That’s why anyone diagnosed with this autoimmune condition gets the conventional Celiac Disease prescription: follow a strict gluten-free diet for life."

The University of Chicago has one of the leading treatment and research centers for Celiac Disease in the U.S., so my jaw dropped when they posted this:

“While healing may take up to 2 years for many older adults, new research shows that the small intestines of up to 60% of adults never completely heal, especially when adherence to the diet is less than optimal.”[1].

"65% of gluten-free Celiacs still have a raging fire in their gut

The same 2009 study in The Journal of Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics of 465 Celiac Disease patients 16-months gluten-free found that 65% still had “persistent intraepithelial lymphocytosis” AKA inflammation in the gut.[4]"

I suppose the problem really is that gluten is just about everywhere it is like being your own 'Sherlock Homes' trying to seek it out and find food without it in ... it is so good that we share so much information here .. at least that means we are in with a chance of having a better overall health probability ...

Here is the rest of the article if you wish to read it - but it is a very grim and sobering read:


i read about the Mossies not liking the folks who eat vote is with the mossies..cant stand the stuff myself.

I used anti-mossie patches in India...very successfully....and If I could remember the name of them....


Wonder if a strong Vitamin B Complex would work equally as well .. we could do with some strong volunteer going into a room and testing this theory out on our behalf!!!!! Lol!! .......... Wouldn't catch me volunteering to be bitten and scarred ... and yes I do mean scarred - I still have one from a bite on the back of my leg that happened over thirty years ago. They are frightening creatures, aren't they?!!


Hi Lynxcat I agree with the article. I was diagnosed 9 years ago at the age of 55. The specialist I am under thought I was refractory as my villi refused to heal. My diet was pulled apart and it was found that for all intents and purposes my diet was OK? He referred me to the practice run by Dr Bob Anderson who ran a series of tests to prove either one way or another whether I was refractory or not.

The tests proved that I was not refractory but that my gut had been damaged so badly over 55 years that it refused to heal. Even to this day my vitamin levels and nutrition levels are problematic. I have pernicious anaemia, Take vitamin d and e and still only weigh 63 kilos on a good day. I am quite tall but my bmi is poor. I like others have calcium problems and dodgy bone density to say the least.

I believe my gut will never be ok in the future. Especially after the removal of a meter of small bowel 2 years ago after a procedure. Constant monitoring is the go for me. How many of us are like me I wonder?


Hi Roscoe, I am sorry that you are having such difficulties. I wonder if I could make a little suggestion that may help - but you would need to perhaps check with your doctor, especially if you are on medication. I think it would be a worthwhile chat with him/her though.

There is a natural healing remedy that is both gentle and effective and is a wonderful healing aid to the entire digestive system including both small and large intestines. It is called Mastic Gum. (It originates from Ancient Greece and so is well tried out over many years.) I have taken it in the past on two occasions and can vouch for the fact that its healing properties are wonderful. It has to be taken every day without exception for thirty days .. some people then need to take small maintenance doses - it is an individual thing.

Here are a few links about it:

If you are unable to consider Mastic Gum and I do hope that you are able to try it out - then there is also (unless you may suffer from diarrhoea) is Aloe Vera - preferably the juice. Aloe Vera has a special property that heals the entirity of the body - not just the digestive system but all of the organs so is a wonderful healing tonic.

There are many sources which advise the values of Aloe Vera - if taking it internally then it has to be the varieties for internal use - best forms for easy digestion are the liquid form which is diluted and taken as a drink. It is also available in capsule and tablet form and you can purchase the plant - there are over 300 varieties so if going down this road you have to be certain that it is the correct plant for internal use.

A couple of links - but you will be able to find more with more detail:


thankyou. I shall also check this out. august


I've used bouillon and been fine as the allergy would tell me if it wasn't.

I've decided to make my own stock from now on as they are all just far too expensive for me

and I constantly question everything made by companies in large factories,I just feel safer that way as I recently have been ill from contamination.

If you question it don't buy it is how i shop these days.


Anyone know what natural flavorings are?


I tried knorr classic gravy for the first time yesterday. It says gluten free, but today I am in bad pain from it.


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