A Guide to Reading Labels

Newly diagnosed?  Balking at the prospect of reading labels?  Finding it all a bit confusing?
This should help..

First and foremost, all products labelled 'gluten free' are good to go - meaning safe to eat.  In Australia we have very strict labeling guidelines - actually ours is one of the strictest gluten free standards in the world, so rest assured that you are in safe hands when a product states 'gluten free' on the packaging.

The 'gluten free' label overrides the ingredient list so you won't have to trawl through the list searching for any offenders.. you can take their word for it.. it's gospel.. YAY

In addition, if you see the crossed grain logo on the packaging of any food it means it is also gluten free. This trademark logo is owned by the Coeliac Society of Australia Inc.

Many food products are gluten free by ingredient.  This simply means that although the product does not have a gluten free label, the product is safe to eat as nothing listed under ingredients has come from a gluten source.  In other words, if you don't see wheat, oats, barley or rye on a label there are no ingredients or food additives that have come from a gluten containing source and therefore the product is gluten free.

Stay away from products that have 'may contain' statements or 'manufactured on the same line or equipment as gluten containing products' on the label.  Although the risk may seem small, is it really worth it?

and just when you thought you had this label reading thing all sussed... there's always an EXCEPTION <groan>

The following ingredients are ALWAYS gluten free even it says it has come from WHEAT (yes confusing but you read correctly)
  • Glucose
  • Glucose Syrup
  • Caramel colour
  • Dextrose

This is because the product has been SO processed there is no detectable gluten.


The Coeliac Society Handbook 4th Edition
SillyYakChat June 2010
The Coeliac Society Ingredient List