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How To Identify Foods That Contain Wheat

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Updated May 16, 2014

Man breaking bread
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Wheat is one of the most common food allergies in the United States, and is therefore covered under the food allergen labeling law (FALCPA). Manufacturers must place an allergy warning on foods that contain wheat on ingredient labels in plain English.

You should still learn the names of wheat ingredients and know which foods commonly contain wheat. Foods from bakeries or restaurants will not carry ingredient labels, and you should not eat them unless you can be assured that they are wheat-free.

In addition to reading the ingredient list on a food item, it’s also important to read the entire package. Some items will hold a disclaimer “may contain traces of wheat” or “made in the same facility as wheat containing foods.” In these cases, the company is giving the choice to the consumer whether or not to consume the food. While it doesn’t necessarily mean the item contains wheat, there’s a chance that it may. Therefore, if you are highly sensitive to wheat, you may want to avoid those products in addition to items which have the following wheat containing ingredients on their labels.

Other names for wheat

  • Bulgur (bulghar)
  • Durum, durum flour, durum wheat
  • Einkorn
  • Emmer
  • Enriched, white and whole-wheat flour
  • Farina
  • Flour (all-purpose, cake, enriched, graham, high protein or high gluten, pastry)
  • Farro
  • Fu
  • Graham flour
  • Kamut
  • Seitan
  • Semolina
  • Spelt
  • Sprouted wheat
  • Triticale (a cross between wheat and rye)
  • Triticum aestivum
  • Wheat (bran, germ, gluten, grass, malt, starch)
  • Wheat berries
  • Wheatgrass

Ingredients that may be derived from wheat

Avoid foods containing these ingredients unless the label states they are not made from wheat.

  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • Modified food starch
  • Vegetable starch or vegetable protein
  • Gelatinized starch
  • Natural flavoring

Foods that often contain wheat

  • Baked goods such as pastries, doughnuts, pies, pretzels
  • Baking mixes, powder and flour
  • Beer
  • Bread or bread crumbs
  • Cereal
  • Chicken and beef broth (cans and bouillon cubes)
  • Condiments, salad dressings, and sauces
  • Crackers
  • Deli meats
  • Falafel
  • Fried, breaded chicken, fish, or other deep-fried foods
  • Gravies
  • Host (communion, altar bread and wafers)
  • Hot dogs
  • Ice cream
  • Imitation bacon
  • Meatballs or meat loaf
  • Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • Pasta, including couscous, gnocchi, spaetzle, chow mein, lo mein, and filled pastas
  • Pie fillings and puddings
  • Sausages
  • Soups
  • Soy sauce or tamari (unless gluten-free)
  • Tabbouleh
  • Tempura

Non-food sources of wheat

  • Cosmetics and hair-care products
  • Medications and vitamins
  • Children’s play dough
  • Pet food
  • Wallpaper paste or glue

Foods That Are (Surprisingly) Wheat-Free

  • Buckwheat
  • Kasha

Sources:

Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Wheat Allergy. Accessed 7/9/2011. http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/labeti/allerg/wheblee.shtml

Food Allergy Initiative. How to Avoid Wheat. Accessed 7/9/2001. http://www.faiusa.org/page.aspx?pid=383

  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Food Allergies
  4. Common Food Allergies
  5. Wheat Allergies
  6. Foods That Contain Wheat to Avoid on a Wheat-Free Diet

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