Are Natural Flavours Gluten Free?

And suddenly, I realized that natural flavours don’t seem so natural at all!

What are natural flavours derived from?

According to the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration)

 “The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.”   For more information from the FDA Click  here

After reading this information, I was curious to learn more about protein hydrolysate, edible yeast and, plant material.

Hydrolyzed Protein

According to Wikipedia

Hydrolyzed protein is a solution derived from the hydrolysis of a protein into its component amino acids and peptides.”   For more details from Wikipedia click here.

Some sources of hydrolyzed protein are hydrolyzed vegetable protein and yeast extract and hydrolyzed beef protein powders.

What you don’t often hear about is hydrolyzed wheat protein. I have been scouring the web for information as to whether or not it is gluten free. I have found sources that say during its process the gluten is so far removed that it can not cause a reaction for celiacs. I have also read articles that say that is not necessarily true. What I do know is that it is a type of natural flavour that you will not see on your product labels. Did you know that both pork and turkey can be injected with hydrolyzed wheat protein to enhance the flavour and act as a plumping agent? When I buy ham or turkey I make sure the label says gluten free. Some Butterball turkeys are labelled gluten free as are hams from the Maple Leaf Natural Selections line. I recommend you continue to do your own research on this matter before deciding if it is gluten free.

Edible Yeast

I could not find a definitive answer on what is in edible yeast. If you have this information please feel free to comment on this post and leave the link where you found this information so I can update my site.

Plant Material in Food

From what I can tell, I believe it is possible that plant material could be derived from wheat, after all, wheat, rye and barley are plants. Once again, finding a definitive answer has become challenging.

My conclusion is this. I believe it possible that Natural Flavours can be derived from gluten. It is always best to contact the manufacturer and ask what is in their natural flavours. If they don’t know the answer then you have to decide for yourself as to whether or not this product is right for you. I have tried many products over the years with natural flavours and have not had any symptoms. I have also had symptoms from products containing natural flavours. Because I also have IBS, it is hard for me to ever be sure if my upset stomach is coming from gluten or other ingredients. Also, not all celiacs have digestive symptoms, so they would not necessarily know if they have consumed gluten or not.

Has this article left you confused? I know I am still confused. I just want you to be aware that the possibility of natural flavours containing gluten is warranted, worth discussing, and definitely in need of more research.

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