Hidden Sources of Gluten

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Cooking on a gluten free diet may be problematic if you run into hidden sources of gluten or gluten cross-contamination. Images of these hidden sources have been uploaded to Pinterest on Gluten Free Label’s Celiac Awareness Board.  Feel free to view and SHARE the visuals.  Your participation continues to spread the word on Celiac Awareness.  If you just need the information, please continue to read below. Thank you!

Kisses:  Gluten can lurk in lipbalms or from the lips of someone who just ate food that wasn’t gluten free. If ingested, someone with Celiac Disease or a Gluten Intolerance could get sick. Be aware!
Ice Cream:  Once on a gluten free diet, no-one wants to give up that gluten free ice cream brain freeze from their favorite ice cream parlor.  However, gluten can hide even in gluten free ice cream.
Deli Meats & Cheese: a) While many deli meats/cheeses are labeled gluten free, others aren’t. Check the label. b) Finding gfree deli meat/cheeses doesn’t eliminate the risk of gluten cross-contamination from shared slicing machines. c) Require associates to change their gloves & possibly clean slicer. d) Some brands offer small packages pre-cut and packaged in the meat department as an option.
Condiments: Problem: Glutinous crumbs in spreadable, gluten free, condiments will taint the jars. Why? Because a gluten contaminated utensil could get dipped into your mustard, cream cheese or peanut butter and it will no longer be gluten free. Solution: If you only have 1 gluten free marked condiment, have the non-gluten free-er scoop out a dollop of their condiment onto a plate and then use their own knife for spreading it onto their bread, bagel or other glutenous item. Use Gluten Free Label, dishwasher safe label to label your condiments to inform others of your gluten restrictions.
Soy Sauce: Traditional soy sauce contains wheat (listed first on the ingredients) therefore, gluten free soy sauces are a good alternative if you want to keep soy sauce in your diet but you are gluten free. TIP: Taking your gluen free soy sauce to restaurants that you trust are totally gluten aware, will add flavor to your dishes!
Toaster: a) If you switch to gluten free bread, you should switch to a new toaster. Using the same toaster for gluten free bread and regular bread will contaminated your toaster. b) Either purchase a new toaster and label it “gluten free” with a tag or you can fry your bread to make toast in a frying pan. c) If you must share your toaster with others that aren’t gluten free either use toaster bags or purchase a toaster oven & designate the top shelf as gluten free only. d) If the top shelf is only reserved for gluten free foods, you’re reducing the risk of wheat containing crumbs falling onto your gfree foods. Label the shelve ‘gluten free’ with a label.
French Fries: Although french fries are made from potatoes some restaurants may buy them frozen with a flour coating so they are crispier when fried – making them inedible for Celiac consumption and they are no longer gluten free. In addition, gluten free french fries can be gluten cross-contaminated when deep fried in oil that is also used with other wheat contaminated foods.
Strainer: How many strainers do you have in your kitchen? It’s one of those tools that you have one in your kitchen and you use for vegetables, pasta, beans and anything else to filter out the bad. Well not all the bad get’s filtered through. If you strain regular flour pasta, the gluten from that pasta will embark on a journey amongst it’s floury friends, through the holes in the strainer and some will hang on for dear life. Once you strain your gluten free pasta down the same strainer, the little glutenous villains will hop over to their new friends and start their journey toward your stomach. Next thing you know, you’ll be treating a “gluten attack” to fight off the “germs in your belly”. So, even after a good cleaning, your strainer / colander could cross contaminate anything else you put through it if you use it for gluten free and gluten containing foods. We recommend having either two strainers, and tagging one gluten free, or using a pot cover to drain the water by holding it slightly offset and tipping out the water from your pot.
Rice Cereals: While rice is naturally gluten free, rice cereals like Rice Krispey’s have malt flavoring listed as an ingredient and malt is a hidden source of gluten. Malt is made from barley grains and barley needs to be avoided by gluten intolerant individuals. Read the labels carefully. Luckily, Rice Krispey and Chex have gluten free options.
Labels Changing: Constantly reading ingredients on labels (even on products you’ve already confirmed are free of gluten) is important to staying gluten free. Ingredients may change on products you’ve been eating regularly and reading the label is the best way to ensure you know what you’re ingesting.
Pots and Pans: If you have a shared kitchen where pots and pans are used often then cross contamination is very likely. Make sure you thoroughly clean each pot and pan to keep yourself safe. Even using separate pots and pans would be necessary. Tag your pots with our heat resistant tags! – Tip courtesy of GlutenAway.com
Cake Decorating Supplies: Cake decorating products like sprinkles could be made from gluten free ingredients but gluten cross-contaminated if made in a facility that also processes wheat. Read the fine print.
Over-the-Counter / Prescription Drugs: Gluten can be used in over-the-counter or prescription drugs to bind pills together. Those with Celiac Disease should check with the drugs manufacturer or pharmacist to ensure the medication is gluten free.
Cosmetics: Cosmetics such as foundations, face wash, lipstick, body lotions & even toothpaste may contain gluten. If ingested, these products could make those with gluten intolerances sick. Many companies don’t list all the ingredients on their packaging so detecting gluten containing cosmetics can be difficult.
Buffet or Salad Bars: While certain foods at a buffet or salad bar may be gluten free there is a high chance of cross contamination. If there isn’t a designated area with serving utensils labeled “gluten free” (so glutenous foods don’t accidentally fall into gluten free foods) a person who was there before you could dip the spoon from the macaroni salad into the fruit salad making the fruit glutenous. Solution: It would be best to avoid areas with shared serving ladles or tongs to reduce cross contamination scares.
Countertops: Glutenous flour can remain in the air and on your counter tops without you knowing it. Gluten on your counter top can find its way into your foods and therefore into your body. Continually wiping down counter tops will help reduce your chance of cross contamination.
Grills: As the summer quickly approaches, those barbecuing must be careful of cross contamination from glutenous grills. Gluten free foods can be cross contaminated by gluten filled marinades that previously dripped onto the grates or wheat rolls that had been toasted on the grill. Use aluminum foil or designated gluten free areas on your grill to reduce cross contamination.
Wheat Free Doesn’t Mean Gluten Free: Gluten is a protein found in foods processed from wheat, and related grains such as rye and barley, so if a product’s ingredients reads “Wheat Free” BE CAREFUL because it can still contain gluten or ingredients derived from them.
Coffee: Coffee (like flavored coffee) or coffee products may contain added ingredients that are not gluten free therefore, cross contamination can occur at your local grocery store’s coffee grinder or at your local favorite coffee shop where gluten free coffee could be brewed in the same machines as non gluten free coffee (i.e. Oreo flavor).
Soup: Often soups (in restaurants or canned at grocery stores) are thickened with wheat flour or contain gluten ingredients (pasta in minestrone). Your best bet is to make your own soup or find the brands that offer gluten free options. Often soups (in restaurants or canned at grocery stores) are thickened with wheat flour or contain gluten ingredients (pasta in minestrone). Your best bet is to make your own soup or find the brands that offer gluten free options.
Ketchup: Glass ketchup bottles on restaurant tables may be cross contaminated if the person there before you cut their hamburger roll and then stuck their knife into the ketchup bottle to get the ketchup flowing. Ask for packets if possible.
Kids Arts and Crafts: Did you know that certain finger paint brands contain gluten? Play dough is also made with wheat flour. Your little ones hands could be contaminated and gluten could find its way into his/her mouth. Also, paper mache is made from wheat flour and water. The flour could stay airborne and make a child sick from inhalation. Instead of making your little one wear gloves gluten free homemade recipes or g-free store products are available.
Hands: We all know that hands are the number one leading cause of the spread of germs, so it should come as no surprise that they are a cause of gluten cross-contamination. Itsy bitsy goldfish loving fingers might be oh so cute, but only to someone that doesn’t suffer from Celiac.
Salad Dressing: You should be safe with olive oil and vinegar (as long as it’s not malt vinegar) at home but what about all the wonderful options in the dressings aisle or restaurant menu? Some dressings are pre-made with gluten to thicken them up. Beware. Read the label and continue to reread the labels every time you buy to make sure ingredients didn’t change.
Chicken Bouillon Cubes: Seriously? Yep. Some bouillon has gluten in it. Maybe to hold the little squares together a bit easier or to add some thickness to the broth it creates. Who knows? All I know is that you better check yourself before you wreck yourself with a little cube of contamination.
Pet Food: We know all about little creepy crawly toddlers who get into the dog food and suddenly become quiet with chipmunk cheeks. Lucky for us, our little one doesn’t have celiac disease, but if yours does, you may want to keep him or her away from the little scrumptious doggie (or cat) pebbles for the risk of sickness.
Ice Cubes: Gluten cross-contamination can happen in your drinking cup if someone grabs a glutenous finger food & then grabs a handful of ice cubes with their unclean fingers instead of with tongs. Make a drink without having to think. Pull ice from the bottom of the ice bag or ice bucket to keep your drink gluten free.
Beer and Liquor: If you are new to a gluten free diet, rest assure, most wine is gluten free. On the other hand, most beer brands contain gluten. Luckily, if you are a beer drinker, you do have gluten free options. Same applies for vodkas. Whether or not distilled liquor is safe or not for Celiacs continues to be debated. Stick with corn, potato or grape based vodka, rum and/or tequila which are not wheat based. Cheers!
Candy: Before accepting that unwrapped candy be mindful of the ingredients. Seems as though some manufacturers may not be as up with the times in the gluten free candy production space. There’s all sorts of stuff candy makers add to products like wheat that binds candy like licorice together. So, watch out for hidden gluten lingo on the long list of ingredients before you satisfy Mr. Sweet Tooth.
Sauce: A little chef trick in the kitchen is to add flour to sauces, melted butter, and drippings to thicken it up. Also, be aware of anyone at your home dipping wheat bread in your gluten free sauce or dripping glutenous sauce on your safe food as they put their ladle aside as it will instantly ruin your meal.