What to look for in Gluten Food Labeling? | Fortress Nutrition LLC

Gluten food labeling can be rather complex if you’re not familiar with the intricacies of it.You probably know that gluten — a protein — is in anything made from wheat, rye, or barley. But did you know it’s also in some less obvious products, such as lunch meats and soy sauce? Fortunately, this article is going to teach you everything you need to know about what you should look for.

What to look for in Gluten Food Labeling?

You might not be very familiar with gluten itself, but it actually plays an important role in the baking of bread including its texture, shape, and strength. Celiac disease is a condition in which people can’t eat gluten. The most recent studies show that around three million Americans in total are dealing with celiac disease and thus need to avoid gluten.

The following terms represent the most commonly used Latin terms for wheat, barley, and rye. If you see any of these, the product contains gluten:

  • Triticum vulgare (wheat)
  • Triticale (cross between wheat and rye)
  • Hordeum vulgare (barley)
  • Secale cereale (rye)
  • Triticum spelta (spelt, a form of wheat)

Ingredients That May Contain Gluten

Depending on the source, all of these ingredients potentially can contain gluten. The FDA does require food manufacturers to declare wheat-containing ingredients on their labels. However, other gluten-containing grains potentially could be used to make some of these ingredients.

You’ll need to check with the manufacturer to find out for certain whether or not a food that includes one or more of these ingredients is safe on a gluten-free diet.

  • Vegetable protein/hydrolyzed vegetable protein (can come from wheat, corn or soy)
  • Modified starch/modified food starch (can come from several sources, including wheat)
  • Natural flavor/natural flavoring (can come from barley)
  • Artificial flavor/artificial flavoring (can come from barley)
  • Caramel color (now considered a safe ingredient, but if you’re in doubt, check with the manufacturer)
  • Modified food starch
  • Hydrolyzed plant protein/HPP
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein/HVP
  • Seasonings
  • Flavorings
  • Vegetable starch
  • Dextrin and Maltodextrin (both sometimes made from wheat)

FDA regulations on Gluten food labeling

Due to the rise of celiac disease and the growing population of Americans who suffer from the condition, the FDA has been putting regulations in place to protect them through the use of clear labeling that makes it very clear when products contain gluten so that those with celiac disease can avoid such products. It isn’t very easy for manufacturers to legally place the “gluten-free” tag on their products unless they meet the stringent requirements of the FDA.

To qualify, the product in question needs to contain less than 20 ppm of gluten otherwise it won’t even be considered. The regulation was first put into place in 2013 when the FDA took notice of the risk that false labeling posed to the community of those who suffer from celiac disease. Prior to its implementation, some companies would claim that their products were gluten-free when they, in fact, contained it which led to adverse side effects for those with celiac.

Does no label mean a product contain gluten?

Just because a product doesn’t have a gluten-free tag on its label that doesn’t necessarily mean that it contains gluten. This is due to the fact that not all food products are required to have a gluten-free tag just because they don’t contain gluten.

Rather, the FDA merely reserves the right to use the label for products that are gluten-free and wish to advertise themselves as such. Bottled water doesn’t contain gluten but you won’t see a tag stating such in most labeling since it’s rather obvious, to begin with.


As you can see, the labeling of gluten-free products is held to high standards and only reserved for credible manufacturers.

What can Fortress Nutrition LLC do for you?

Rest assured that you’re in good hands with Fortress Nutrition. To learn more about how we tailor our blending, ingredient sourcing, logistics, consumer packaging, and other services to meet customer needs, and to find out how we can partner with you to ensure compliance with new GMO laws, contact us today.