Is Cream Cheese Gluten-Free?

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Is cream cheese gluten-free?

Gluten is a protein found within grains such as wheat, barley and rye. Gluten can be problematic for people with a celiac disorder or nonceliac gluten sensitivity.

  • an immune system reaction
  • Inflammation in the digestive tract
  • Brain fog
  • Fatigue
  • Skin rashes

Gluten is rarely found in dairy products like 100 per cent natural cheese. Some cheeses and other cheese products may contain gluten.

Other cheeses can be altered to remove salt or fat. These cheeses may be modified to include gluten-based ingredients to improve their texture and taste.

Cheese with Gluten

Gluten-free cheeses are plain, full-fat cheeses without any flavourings or other ingredients.

Gluten can be found in processed cheeses and low-fat cheeses. Gluten can also be found in cheeses containing any additive, such as wheat starch and modified food starch.

Many ingredients go into American cheeses, cottage cheeses, queso and ricotta. Some contain gluten while others don’t. Double-check any ingredient that includes vinegar. Malt vinegar has gluten.

Gluten-free cream cheese made from full-fat cream is generally not packaged with crackers, pretzels, cheese straws, or other wheat products. Check the ingredients on low-fat and fat-free cream cheese.

It is important to read labels on processed cheeses and other cheese products. Some contain gluten while others don’t.

Double-check the ingredients label:

  • American processed cheese
  • queso cheese
  • cottage cheese
  • ricotta cheese
  • breaded mozzarella sticks
  • string cheese
  • Powdered cheese
  • cheese spreads
  • cheese sauce
  • Spray can cheese
  • Dairy-free cheese
  • Blue cheese is made from blue cheese cultures and wheat, malt or rye
  • Cheesecake, cheese Danish and other frozen or baked products containing cheese include cheesecakes, cheese Danish and other cheese-based baked goods.

It is possible to find gluten by reading the labels of cheese and other cheese products. However, it is important to know what terms you should look for. To preserve the cheese’s shelf life and prevent it from separating, gluten is often added to the products as a thickener.

Some ingredients could be hidden sources of gluten in a label, such as:

  • Hydrolyzed wheat protein is another example of wheat
  • Malt, such as extracts or malt vinegar
  • Food starch or modified foods starch
  • Powdered cellulose
  • vegetable gum
  • maltodextrin
  • artificial colour
  • artificial flavour
  • Natural flavour
  • Natural colour
  • Thickeners
  • fillers
  • emulsifiers
  • Spice mix

Contaminated Cheese

Sometimes, gluten-free cheeses can be contaminated by gluten-containing products. This could happen:

  • At the farm
  • At the factory
  • Transport
  • Restaurants
  • If cheese is handled on the same surfaces in grocery stores as gluten-containing products, it will be considered unsafe
  • At the deli counter, if the same machines are used to slice gluten-containing food, slice cheese

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’sTrusted Source limit of gluten in a gluten-free product is less than 20 parts per million (ppm). This is the lowest amount of gluten that analytical tools can detect in food. These types of exposures are not likely to cause cheese contamination.

Gluten sensitivity patients can often tolerate contaminated food at the grocery store level. People living with Celiac disease need to be extra vigilant.

Always read the food labels if you have symptoms due to minimal exposure.

If you live with someone allergic to gluten, your food mustn’t touch other people’s kitchenware.

The bottom line

Gluten-free is a common feature of natural cheeses. Gluten-sensitive people or those with celiac disease should be careful about what cheese and cheese products they eat.

Even gluten-free cheese can be accidentally contaminated by gluten-containing food. This type of contamination is usually very minor and only affects people with celiac disease.

It is possible to buy cheese and other cheese products made in gluten-free facilities. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and the best way to manage them.

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