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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to FREE Celiac.com email alerts What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes Where can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.

Annatto
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18 posts in this topic

I've heard many opinions on whether or not Annatto food coloring is gluten free. It's not on the forbidden list from this site, but it IS on the forbidden list my gastrointerologist gave me from the Celiac Disease Foundation. I was surprised that it was on one list and not the other, but it explained a lot since I have clearly reacted to it with my typical celiac disease symptoms. I looked into it further and found this:

"annatto color: A coloring agent derived from the seeds of the Achiote, also known as the Lipstick tree (Bixa orellana), it is often used in cheese but also in many other orange-colored foods. The seed itself is unlikely to contain any gluten, it is the processing of the seed into a colorant that causes concern as it appears to use alcohol in the process. There is also suspicion that caramel color may be included in the annatto colorant. Anecdotal evidence has some celiacs reacting to foods with annatto color in them but this may be a non-celiac reaction to the annatto itself."

Any comments on this? Has anyone else reacted to Annatto?

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I've heard many opinions on whether or not Annatto food coloring is gluten free. It's not on the forbidden list from this site, but it IS on the forbidden list my gastrointerologist gave me from the Celiac Disease Foundation. I was surprised that it was on one list and not the other, but it explained a lot since I have clearly reacted to it with my typical celiac disease symptoms. I looked into it further and found this:

"annatto color: A coloring agent derived from the seeds of the Achiote, also known as the Lipstick tree (Bixa orellana), it is often used in cheese but also in many other orange-colored foods. The seed itself is unlikely to contain any gluten, it is the processing of the seed into a colorant that causes concern as it appears to use alcohol in the process. There is also suspicion that caramel color may be included in the annatto colorant. Anecdotal evidence has some celiacs reacting to foods with annatto color in them but this may be a non-celiac reaction to the annatto itself."

Any comments on this? Has anyone else reacted to Annatto?

I'm new to this board and it's incredible how much I've already learned. I'm a US citizen but live in Mexico where they use "achiote" in many dishes. I thought my body responded badly to it but then again just chalked it up to maybe I didn't really like the flavor. Now seeing your post I'm convinced I probably was getting a signal from my gut that it did not agree with achiote/annatto.

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I have not reacted to Annato. I read the same conflicting evidence in the beginning and used to avoid annato, but I've found I don't have any issues with it, so I'm sticking with, it's ok!

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Annatto is gluten-free. Without question.

I suspect your info came from CSA/USA, which for years put out bad information about ingredients based solely on guesses and suspicions. Read this part, "it is the processing of the seed into a colorant that causes concern as it appears to use alcohol in the process. There is also suspicion that caramel color may be included in the annatto colorant. Anecdotal evidence has some celiacs reacting to foods with annatto color in them but this may be a non-celiac reaction to the annatto itself."

Complete bunk.

It "appears" to use alcohol. They don't even know but just in case they'll scare you. And what if it does use alcohol? The alcohol is likely not from wheat and is distilled anyway.

"There is also suspicion that caramel color may be included in the annatto colorant." SUSPICION???? Well why didn't they find out before trying to frighten people. Caramel color in the U.S. (and probably pretty much the rest of the world) is gluten-free anyway.

And I won't even go into the anecdotal evidence sentence. Awful.

I'm sure CSA/USA did some good over the years, but their complete hysteria about certain ingredients has also done a lot of harm. I don't know that they actually still hand out this bad information, but others do, including doctors. You need to educate your physician.

Phew. Off my podium now.

Note that this harangue was NOT directed at rogue.

richard

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I actually do react to annatto and have avoided it since having a bad reaction

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But I assume not a gluten reaction?

richard

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i've been doing some deep investigating and the problem may lie in the oil soluble annatto:

i found that not only are there about 8 different kinds of annatto, but almost 100% of annatto coloring in the US is imported and extracted at the source- which means most of it is produced in peru and the carribbean regions. one of them is oil soluble annatto. to extract oil soluble annatto coloring, vegetable oils (sometimes containting mono and diglycerides) are used. oil soluble is used in products with a high oil content, like butter, margerine, etc. so it may be that water soluble annatto coloring (which uses soium or potassium hydroxide for extraction) may be okay, while oil soluble may not be.

my reactions have always seemingly been gluten reactions. they're fairly immediate and relative to how much i consume. i found out it was in my butter, and then realized why i was feeling ill after breakfast in the morning (i had been putting annatto-containing butter on my gluten free waffles) and why i had rampant diarrhea after i loaded something with butter that contained annatto. I'm fine with annatto-free butter.

the forbidden list that i received from my gastrointerologist came from the celiac disease foundation, not csa my gastro is the best doctor i've ever had and is completely brilliant- i doubt that he would consult with an organization that is anything less than he is.

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I'm very sensitive and don't eat many processed foods at all. One of the things I do eat are McCains 5 Minute Fries (yum)--they contain annatto, and I've never had a problem with them.

I do want to add that anyone can react to anything, so I'm not minimizing anyone's reactions--just relating my experience.

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Many Celiacs react to annatto along with other ingredients. I reacted to annatto for at least a year on the gluten free diet. I can now tolerate it. We have questions about once a month about distilled vinegar too (gluten free, but a lot of Celiacs have problems with it) Keep a food journal to figure out what other ingredients you are sensitive to.

Thank you so much for sharing your information about annatto.

L.

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I've heard many opinions on whether or not Annatto food coloring is gluten free. It's not on the forbidden list from this site, but it IS on the forbidden list my gastrointerologist gave me from the Celiac Disease Foundation. I was surprised that it was on one list and not the other, but it explained a lot since I have clearly reacted to it with my typical celiac disease symptoms. I looked into it further and found this:

"annatto color: A coloring agent derived from the seeds of the Achiote, also known as the Lipstick tree (Bixa orellana), it is often used in cheese but also in many other orange-colored foods. The seed itself is unlikely to contain any gluten, it is the processing of the seed into a colorant that causes concern as it appears to use alcohol in the process. There is also suspicion that caramel color may be included in the annatto colorant. Anecdotal evidence has some celiacs reacting to foods with annatto color in them but this may be a non-celiac reaction to the annatto itself."

Any comments on this? Has anyone else reacted to Annatto?

My boyfriend, we think, reacts to annatto so we are careful to avoid it. We did just find out that Yoplait Light Harvest Peach Yogurt contains annatto.

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This thread is four years old, so some information may be out-of-date.

Annatto, alcohol, and caramel color are all gluten-free. If you are reacting to annatto, it could be that you are sensitive to Achiote. There is no gluten in there to react to.

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Have never had a reaction to annatto but I grown and process my own. When its in other processed products I've never had a problem either. Suspect that those with a reaction have it to the seed itself and its not celiac related.

This thread is four years old, so some information may be out-of-date.

Annatto, alcohol, and caramel color are all gluten-free. If you are reacting to annatto, it could be that you are sensitive to Achiote. There is no gluten in there to react to.

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My boyfriend, we think, reacts to annatto so we are careful to avoid it. We did just find out that Yoplait Light Harvest Peach Yogurt contains annatto.

Friendly's vanilla icecream has annatto and I think I reacted to it and have done in the past. If it is gluten free, maybe it is just hard to handle with a damaged gut.

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I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance a year ago, never used to be allergic to anything..and i had a reaction to annatto the other day, in velveeta cheese, and never had a problem with annatto until i became gluten sensitive.....sorry, but, it IS a little weird...something has to be going on with it...i believe its linked together somewhere..

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I'd like to add a comment about my own experiences with annatto. I have been gluten-free for about 3 1/2 years now & have much less trouble than before. But I still react to things that I don't yet know what they are. Hives, swelling of fingers, palms, wrist, soles of my feet. But worst is when my tongue suddenly swells up, which happens a lot.

I have kept a food diary & have had suspicions about certain flavored syrups as well as eggnog & the margarine I use. I have finally narrowed it all down to the common ingredient of annatto.

The reaction is usually about 2 hours later. It is probably a true allergy & not an intolerance in the way the celiac thing is. I have found a margarine that has beta-carotene as a coloring agent & am going to try that out. Looking forward to a breakfast of gluten-free muffins, annatto-free margarine, & NO tongue-swelling.

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could be your allergic to the lipstick tree -

Bixa orellana.

its a relative of chocolate, Kola, Okra and cotton. In itself the tree is gluten free. what some companies might do to it is another story.

Annatto that is making you sick might be for another reason.

good luck

I'd like to add a comment about my own experiences with annatto. I have been gluten-free for about 3 1/2 years now & have much less trouble than before. But I still react to things that I don't yet know what they are. Hives, swelling of fingers, palms, wrist, soles of my feet. But worst is when my tongue suddenly swells up, which happens a lot.

I have kept a food diary & have had suspicions about certain flavored syrups as well as eggnog & the margarine I use. I have finally narrowed it all down to the common ingredient of annatto.

The reaction is usually about 2 hours later. It is probably a true allergy & not an intolerance in the way the celiac thing is. I have found a margarine that has beta-carotene as a coloring agent & am going to try that out. Looking forward to a breakfast of gluten-free muffins, annatto-free margarine, & NO tongue-swelling.

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could be your allergic to the lipstick tree -

Bixa orellana.

its a relative of chocolate, Kola, Okra and cotton. In itself the tree is gluten free. what some companies might do to it is another story.

Annatto that is making you sick might be for another reason.

good luck

Thanks for that info! I had a hard time finding this thread again to find your reply. It's interesting that the tree is related to chocolate, since I am also allergic to chocolate.

There are SO MANY booby-traps! I just now read the list of ingredients on a bottle of pop I was drinking. Fanta orange soda in the glass bottle: contains modified food starch.................

Beth P.

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I just now read the list of ingredients on a bottle of pop I was drinking. Fanta orange soda in the glass bottle: contains modified food starch.................

Modified food starch is usually tapioca or corn. If it was wheat--which I have never seen to be the case in North America--it would have to be stated as such using the word "wheat." Some very old lists contain it since prior to 2006 it could be undisclosed wheat. It is no longer a concern.

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