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  • Scott Adams
    Scott Adams

    Are Distilled Vinegars Made from Wheat Safe?

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    White vinegar or just plain vinegar are typically distilled, and, if so, are gluten-free. Distilled vinegar can be distilled from wheat, corn, potatoes, beets, wood, apples and many other things. Most in the USA are not made from wheat, but are instead made from corn, potatoes or wood, which are all safe (Heinz white vinegar is distilled from corn). Distilled vinegars that are made from wheat are probably gluten-free because of the distillation process described in Frederik Willem Janssens article on this site.

    Distilled vinegar made from wood are gluten-free. Wood-based vinegar is often the vinegar used in processed foods.

    Flavored vinegars are made with white, distilled vinegar, and flavorings are then added. Some of these may also not be gluten-free (the cheapest vinegars are used since the flavors are masked by the herbs and flavoring).

    Malted vinegars are usually not gluten-free.

    Red and white wine and balsamic vinegars are gluten-free.


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    I found this written by Jane Anderson "Vinegar — yes, even vinegar from gluten grains — tests well below the less than 20 parts per million gluten threshold that is considered "gluten-free" in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Europe. So those who say vinegar is gluten-free are correct ... it qualifies for that distinction based on testing results.

     

    But those who say they react to gluten grain-based vinegar are not imagining their reactions, either. A substantial minority of people with celiac and gluten sensitivity react both to distilled alcohol and distilled vinegar that are originally derived from gluten, even though most experts agree those substances are "gluten-free."

     

    It's not clear what percentage of people this involves — there haven't been any studies on it — but it's enough that I advise those who are newly diagnosed to proceed very carefully when dealing with those types of alcohol and vinegar until they can determine for themselves whether they react or not."

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    I found this written by Jane Anderson "Vinegar — yes, even vinegar from gluten grains — tests well below the less than 20 parts per million gluten threshold that is considered "gluten-free" in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Europe. So those who say vinegar is gluten-free are correct ... it qualifies for that distinction based on testing results.

     

    But those who say they react to gluten grain-based vinegar are not imagining their reactions, either. A substantial minority of people with celiac and gluten sensitivity react both to distilled alcohol and distilled vinegar that are originally derived from gluten, even though most experts agree those substances are "gluten-free."

     

    It's not clear what percentage of people this involves — there haven't been any studies on it — but it's enough that I advise those who are newly diagnosed to proceed very carefully when dealing with those types of alcohol and vinegar until they can determine for themselves whether they react or not."

    I am one of those people that reacts to distilled vinegar or alcohol which originate from grain. Less than 20ppm is NOT gluten free. I fought against the FDA when they were asking for input on gluten-free labeling for this purpose. Sadly, for me just because a product is labeled gluten-free doesn't mean it really is in my world and I still have to read the ingredients first.

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    Thanks for stating that plain vinegar is typically distilled. I've seen several sites that say plain vinegar on the label is supposed to be apple cider vinegar. I've reacted to products having just "vinegar" listed on the label. Is distilled vinegar made more commonly from barley than from wheat? If someone were to react to distilled vinegar, and that person doesn't have a corn allergy, would barley be the next most likely culprit? Thanks!

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  • About Me

    Celiac.com's Founder and CEO, Scott was diagnosed with celiac disease  in 1994, and, due to the nearly total lack of information available at that time, was forced to become an expert on the disease in order to recover. Scott launched the site that later became Celiac.com in 1995 "To help as many people as possible with celiac disease get diagnosed so they can begin to live happy, healthy gluten-free lives."  In 1998 he founded The Gluten-Free Mall which he sold in 2014. He is co-author of the book Cereal Killers, and founder and publisher of Journal of Gluten Sensitivity.

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