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    Is Old El Paso Taco Seasoning Gluten-Free? What About Other Brands of Taco Seasoning?

    Scott Adams
    2 2
    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      Are Old El Paso, and other brands of taco seasoning gluten-free and safe for celiacs?

    Image: CC BY-SA 2.0--Boz Bros
    Caption: Image: CC BY-SA 2.0--Boz Bros

    Celiac.com 06/30/2020 - Summer is upon us again, and somehow summer always means tacos to me. Sure, I like soft shell tacos, but I also love hard shell tacos. When I make hard shell tacos, I like to go with a seasoning mix. Sometimes I make my own, other times, I like to use a packaged mix. But are taco seasoning mixes okay?

    One of the most common questions we've seen recently in Celiac.com's forum is about Old El Paso Taco Seasoning. People are wanting to know if taco seasoning mixes like Old El Paso Taco Seasoning are gluten-free and safe for people with celiac disease. Here's a list of some top brands of taco seasoning mixes that we consider safe for people with celiac disease.

    McCormick Taco Seasoning

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    No gluten ingredients and no declared allergens. Ingredients per the McCormick.com website: Chili Pepper, Paprika, Oregano, Onion, Salt, Potato Starch, Sugar, Garlic, Natural Flavor.

    McCormick's statement: "If our products have gluten in them, it will be listed clearly in the ingredient statement.  We do not hide any allergens under “natural flavors” or “spices.” This pertains mainly to our Dry Seasoning mixes and some blends.  An example is our Beef Stew Seasoning Mix.  This contains gluten, and states, “Wheat Gluten,” in the ingredient statement.

    McCormick goes a step further.  If an ingredient is derived from wheat source, such as Maltodextrin, it will be listed as “Maltodextrin (WHEAT), in the ingredient statement. McCormick follows good manufacturing practices at our plants and takes extra precautions to eliminate the possibility of mislabeling or cross-contamination."

    CAUTION: Do not use Lawry's Taco Seasoning, which is made by McCormick. Lawry's Taco Seasoning contains wheat ingredients and is UNSAFE for people with celiac disease.

    Old El Paso Taco Seasoning

    No gluten ingredients and no declared allergens. Ingredients per Old El Paso web site: Chili Pepper, Maltodextrin, Salt, Onion Powder, Spice, Corn Starch, Sea Salt (Potassium Magnesium Chloride, Salt). Contains 2% Or Less Of: Vegetable Oil (Canola, High Oleic Soybean And/Or Sunflower Oil), Corn Flour, Silicon Dioxide (Anticaking Agent), Citric Acid, Sugar, Natural Flavor.

    Like most major companies, General Mills, the maker of Old El Paso Taco Seasoning, has a policy of clearly declaring known allergens on the label.

    Ortega Taco Seasoning

    No gluten ingredients and no declared allergens. Ingredients as per Ortega.com: Yellow Corn Flour, Salt, Maltodextrin, Paprika, Spices, Modified Corn Starch, Sugar, Citric Acid, Yeast Extract, Natural Flavors, Silicon Dioxide.

    Recipe for Home Made Gluten-Free Taco Seasoning

    Gluten-Free Taco Seasoning Ingredients:

    • 2 tablespoons ground chili powder*
    • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
    • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
    • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
    • ½ teaspoon onion powder
    • ½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

    Mix ingredients in a bowl and place in a jar to use as needed.

    *Note: For less spicy taco mix, cut back on the chili powder. 

    Edited by Scott Adams

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    I thought McCormick was gluten-free but recently got sick from a meal of ground turkey with McCormick taco seasoning and I called to confirm it is still gluten free and was told that only the package with the green label that says GLUTEN FREE actually is.  Of course none of the stores carry it but I can get it on Amazon in a multi pack.  Same thing for McCormick chili seasoning.

    So many Celiacs count on McCormick I feel like they need to get the word out there that they now make a non-gluten-free version and that's what stores are carrying.

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  • About Me

    Scott Adams 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. In 1995 he launched the site that later became Celiac.com to help as many people as possible with celiac disease get diagnosed so they can begin to live happy, healthy gluten-free lives.  He is co-author of the book Cereal Killers, and founder and publisher of the (formerly paper) newsletter Journal of Gluten Sensitivity. In 1998 he founded The Gluten-Free Mall which he sold in 2014. Celiac.com does not sell any products, and is 100% advertiser supported.

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