When you are grocery shopping gluten free, reading labels for gluten is very important. (for more on that, check out my previous post The Importance of Reading Labels for Gluten When You Are Grocery Shopping Gluten Free). However, sometimes it can be difficult to know exactly what things to look for when you are reading the labels for gluten. There are several things you should be looking for on a food label to assure that the product you want to purchase in the grocery store is gluten free. There are also several things you should be looking for on a food label that will be a clear indicator the product is NOT gluten free.
1. Certified GF or Gluten Free Label – If you find a certified GF label or simply the words “gluten free” on the label of products when you are grocery shopping gluten free, then you’re good to go! You can enjoy these products in the grocery store without worry.
2. Bold Letters – It is important to pay attention to bold lettering. They often will tell you what allergens that are contained in their products in bold letters. If the bold lettering states the product contains wheat/gluten, you know it’s not good to eat. If wheat isn’t listed as an allergen, I would say you’re usually good to eat the product. However, it is also important to note that wheat isn’t the only form of gluten. I suggest you make sure to check the other ingredients on the label carefully to make sure there aren’t derived from gluten.
3. Products With No Specific Labeling – These grocery store products can be tricky. These are the ones that don’t say they are gluten free, but also don’t have any allergy warning. If you have more severe allergies/sensitivities to gluten, I would definitely suggest proceeding with caution. Personally, I don’t usually risk eating these products. However, if you are less sensitive, and feeling like you thoroughly read through the label finding no gluten, the decision up to you. I usually tend to be more cautious with eating these types of products, but to each their own.
4. Contains Traces of Wheat/Gluten – When you see a label like this on a grocery store product, it usually will be in bold lettering (although this isn’t always the case). Products that claim to contain traces of wheat are NOT gluten free, and need to be avoided if you have a more severe sensitivity to gluten.
5. Manufactured in a Factory That Produces Gluten or Wheat – This label is another tricky one. Again, if you have a more severe sensitivity/allergy to gluten, I do not recommend eating any product that contains this labeling. Chances are, products with this label are cross contaminated (you can read more about the dangers of cross contamination in a gluten free diet here), and should be avoided.
Important Thing to Note – Although these 5 things to look for when reading labels for gluten are helpful, it is still important to always be cautious when you are grocery shopping gluten free. Don’t just assume something is gluten free, and if you are unsure about the GF safetiness of an ingredient, make sure to look it up or ask someone for help to be safe! Although it can be challenging at first, with experience and practice you will become a pro at reading labels for gluten when you are grocery shopping gluten free.