Barley Allergy | Allergy

Barley Allergy

by Allergy Guy

Like any food, it is possible to develop an allergy to barley.

There may be a correlation between a wheat allergy and a barley allergy. If you are allergic to wheat, be sure to test for a barley allergy also. There is no need to assume you are allergic to barley in this case as it is not universal.

You may know you have a barley allergy because you have had an allergy test, or because you have used an elimination diet to determine this.

If you have not used one of the the methods above, why do you think you might have a barely allergy?

If it is because you are tired after drinking beer (or because you have other symptoms caused by drinking beer, besides the obvious ones caused by alcohol) there is another, more likely causes of your symptoms.

Yeast is a common culprit. Many people are allergic to yeast. Suspect yeast before barley as the source of your problem, but do verify if barley is or is not a problem.

For information about avoiding barely, see Barely Allergy – Avoiding Barely.

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{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ian April 27, 2013 at 08:13

I was pretty convinced that I have had a sensitivity to products which contain cornflour for a number of years but after reading some of the comments below it has made me think I’m also sensitive to barley now. It is hard enough choosing foods which don’t contain cornflour and if I am sensitive barley now that task is going to almost double. Is there anywhere my Doctor could send me to test for this on the NH


2 Allergy Guy April 29, 2013 at 21:15

I can’t advise you on how the NH works, but I will suggest that allergy tests are a guide at best. The only way to be sure is to cut out the potentially offending food and see if you get better, then reintroduce and see if you get worse. Anything else is not accurate enough to rely on, but can be ueful in deciding what to try cutting out.


3 Lindsey April 3, 2013 at 03:47


This info was really useful to me. We’ve just found out our 8 year old has Barley, Wheat, Dairy, Citrus, Nut, Yeast, Egg allergies (doesn’t leave much for an 8 year old to eat!) We’ve been referred as a mattter of ue=rgency to see an imunologist and dietician but I’m not holding out much hop as I also think the attitude in the UK to allergies is a bit apathetic! I have suffered with a dairy and wheat allergy for most of my life which caused severe eczeme as a child but wasn’t diagnosed until I was 26 (good advert for our Doctors) so I am pretty used to dealing with it but it just seems like she can’t eat anything and it’s been useful to see some of the other names for Barley as I’m not familiar at looking for these. Just need to research some of the others nopw becuase no doubt I’ll get sod all help from the NHS despite paying into it for the past 25 years!


4 Allergy Guy April 3, 2013 at 18:19

Many doctors aren’t great with diagnosing allergies, it’s true.

Focus on what your eight year old can eat. For example, rice, potatoes, non-citrus fruits, meat, vegetables etc.

I’ve got a whole section on gluten-free foods you can look at on this very website. Hope that gives you some ideas. There is plenty on this website and others that will help you to focus on the possible while reminding you to avoid the forbidden. You’ve lived with allergies for a while, I’m sure you can help your daughter with a positive and abundant attitude!


5 malc July 26, 2012 at 14:03

As stated if you eat gluten free you will avoid barley – BUT ONLY IN ITS NATURAL FORM. Barley is used in lots of things like glucose syrup, different vinegars, caramel colour (sometimes) and ‘natural flavourings’ sometimes. Study this thread there is a list somewhere.

It depends on how sensitive you are. You may find just cutting out the natural, ‘raw’ stuff is enough – or you may need to be more strict…like me! Mine is an intolerance, not an allergy tho.


6 Jerad July 25, 2012 at 16:58

I just found out I am allergic to Barley and Oats. This is causing my esophagus to swell. After the allergy tests I was told to avoid Barley and Oats and use wheat, corn, rice for my carbs. I am finding it hard to determine what does not include barley, the oats (I think) are pretty easy to spot. I am grateful for this post but I have a feeling that is going to be a bit of a challenge…


7 Allergy Guy July 26, 2012 at 13:43

So many people have a problem with wheat, that I suggest you might try avoiding wheat for a while too, and see if that helps. If you eat gluten-free, then you’ll be avoiding barley and wheat. Oats are not considered to contain gluten (I disagree) so watch for that on labeling.

Assuming that makes you feel better (could be fast but might take a couple of months) you can then try food that you know to contain wheat but no barley, and see if wheat is a problem.

Avoiding wheat may seem like it is making your job harder, but I think it will make it easier because the gluten free diet is being catered for better and better as time goes on.


8 Amanda January 27, 2012 at 21:02

Has anyone found a barley-free wheat flour? I’ve been searching since August and nada!

The closest I found was a white all-purpose flour from Hodgson Mills. Unfortunately, after contacting the company I learned that their AP flour is produced on the same line as their barley bread mix (what are the chances- really?!). They “clean extensively between production runs, but there is still a slight risk of cross-contamination.” They also do not test for the presence of barley in their non-barley flours.

It makes me wonder how gluten-free their GF products actually are……


9 Amanda February 16, 2012 at 04:59

Okay. Just did some research and found this out.
I can’t find a barley-free flour. I’ve had several people suggest ones that did not list barley as an ingredient (including Martha White and Whole Foods 365). Martha White (which is owned by Smuckers) told me that their flour “may” be processed on shared machinery with barley and refused to be any more exact.

Whole Foods never responded at all.

So, I thought I could grind my own. Because I’m that desperate for cake (I’m pregnant for pity’s sake!).
Turns out, wheat kernels- fresh off the farm- are commonly contaminated with barley kernels as well. They’re pretty well impossible to sort from each other during processing.

My youngest broke out in full-body hives after eating GF bread. I can’t get anyone to test her because she is only 18 months old and it wasn’t a “serious” reaction. I’m not going to trade worry over my allergy in for worry over my daughter’s.

I’m so screwed. ๐Ÿ™


10 Allergy Guy February 16, 2012 at 09:50

Hi Amanda,

You’re not screwed, although I know how you feel.

Here’s the thing: you don’t need bread in your life. Yes, it is nice and convenient, but you don’t need it. I had none for 18 years or so until I discovered GF bread worth eating.

Up until then I ate a lot of rice with vegetables or meat – my lunches were similar to dinners. I have rice for breakfast too.

If you break free of your assumptions that you have to eat a certain format of food, then there are lots of other possibilities out there and most of them have no risk of barley contamination


11 D July 14, 2012 at 19:25

I just found out I can’t have barley, wheat,rice, or rye. Today I had corn and had hives. Corn is in the same family, so I’m
getting tested got that too. I’m a carb addict. I don’t like salad or seafood. Any suggestions?


12 Allergy Guy July 15, 2012 at 12:39

‘carb addict’ … hmmm, that tells me you should actually avoid carbs. I know that may sound radical and hard to do, but give it a try for a month or so and see how you do. I bet your body will thank you.

Meat, vegetables and fruit will probably suit you well. That’s my personal opinion.

13 Maria December 25, 2011 at 19:15

Im taking barley supplement hoping my psoriasis will be lessen…but it flares up and I feel tired and sleepy..could it be im allergy to barley?


14 Allergy Guy December 29, 2011 at 18:05

It is possible, you could be allergic to it or to gluten. If gluten, then wheat would be more of a problem. Barley is in a number of other foods, so if it’s already in your diet, the supplement isn’t necessarily making it worse. You’ll have to try eliminating different foods and see if that helps, try to narrow it down.


15 monica August 24, 2011 at 13:17

I have a Barley allergy confirmed by allergy testing. If I eat something I get hives. This stinks. It seems to be in everything.
I just want to eat a piece of bread….


16 Lesa August 22, 2011 at 19:50

I was recently tested for food allergies after years of body aches and doctors not knowing the reason. Most of my food allergies were plain and simple (wheat, garlic, tomato, sesame, etc.) but malt was also on the list. Once I began reading ingredient lists I noticed Maltodextrin on many items. I asked my doctor if my allergy to malt included maltodextrin. He seemed a little unsure but answered yes. Is there anyone that can answer the question for me so I know for sure whether or not to avoid food containing maltodextrin. After reading some blogs on this site I am still confused.


17 Amanda January 27, 2012 at 20:58

Maltodextrin *can* be made from any grain. In the US, it is typically made from corn. Many companies now list on the label if their maltodextrin is made from something other than corn. It will say something like blah, blah, blah, maltodextrin (wheat), blah, blah, blah.

When in doubt, contact the manufacturer. I’ve had pretty good responses from them.

I find it very odd that they diagnosed you with a “malt” allergy. Malt is typically made from barley, however it can be made from several different grains (including corn and wheat). If I were you, I would have more accurate testing done.


18 kev edgecombe June 5, 2011 at 08:45

hi…im on an elemination test at the mo…i am on gluten free diet for 2 weeks ( witch i think has been causing all my symptoms over the years but my doc seems to think its wheat ) then iv gotta add rye, barley and oats at different times over the next 8 weeks but the other day i had some tuna and put some malt vinegar on by mistake and didnt realise what i had done till i ate the lot this was bout 1 in the afternoon then bout 9 that evening i started itching everywere rashes on my back chest my face went red with red blatchy rashes, itchy eyes and a weird flushing feeling this lasted through the night the next do i was ok untill the folowing night and the samething happend but with realy bad anxeity this time and the next day i was totaly fatigued…has any1 eles experianced this after consuming malt vinegar ??????


19 Allergy Guy June 5, 2011 at 11:14

I suggest that you stay gluten-free for at least 2 months before you start introducing foods. It can take quite a while for your system to clear out.


20 Ashley June 4, 2011 at 20:49

I just found out I am allergic to Barley, Malt, and Soy. PLEASE help me find foods that have carbs (Breads) that are free of those allergens. I am on the road a lot and it find myself eating next to nothing, I hate it.

Thank You So much


21 Jenna Metcalfe August 10, 2011 at 10:26

hi Ashley if you have any luck with this please let me know too as i am also allergic to barley and malt and i;m finding it very hard to find any bread to eat!! i’m struggling with this allergy to be honest!

thanks ๐Ÿ™‚


22 Mia May 31, 2011 at 02:23

I just found this about Maltodextrin- just affirms my point above about GF V’s WF.

Maltodextrin can be enzymatically derived from any starch. In the US, this starch is usually corn; in Europe, it is commonly wheat. While wheat-derived maltodextrin may cause concern for celiacs that it may contain gluten, maltodextrin is such a highly processed ingredient that the protein is removed, rendering it gluten free. If wheat is used to make maltodextrin, it will appear on the label. Even so, the maltodextrin will be gluten free.[2]

Maltodextrin is a common adjunct to beer brewing to increase the specific gravity of the final beer product.[citation needed] This improves the mouthfeel of the beer and reduces the dryness of the drink. Maltodextrin is not fermented by the yeast and has no flavor.


23 Mia May 31, 2011 at 02:17

MOST Gluten Free foods are not Wheat Free, and should never be presumed to be!
Consider crop rotation in fields or when grains are ‘cut’/processed. Trace amounts of Wheat can contaminate other products without any trace of Gluten being present. Gluten is one of the proteins found in Wheat, there are 3 others that are often forgotten and can be responsible for a true Wheat allergy.
Our Son cannot eat ANYTHING unless it was been Wheat Free certified. For example- we need to buy certified WF Oats where they are grown in fields with no other grain. They cannot be cut with equipment used for other grains. It is not unusual to find Wheat berries, husks or grains in regular Oats. This also applies for dried beans, lentils and other dried goods.
Other ingredients are often forgotten when considering Wheat content. A Gluten Free product may contain Caramel Colouring or Maltodextrin or Glucose (the list goes on). These can all be made from Wheat (not to mention Barley!). They may not be made from the glutanins but another part of the Wheat, and therefore not be detectable when looking for Gluten.
This is why certain companies who manufacture allergy suitable foods have seperate ‘ticks’ for Wheat and Gluten on their packaging.
Consider this when buying Gluten Free breads, flours, pastas, cake mixes, biscuits, beers, yoghurts, deli-meats, etc.
It is also worth mentioning other items that are easily overlooked when eliminating Wheat from the home: medications (including prescription), body products (shampoo, bodywash, moisturisers, handwash), cleaning products, baby formula and foods, etc.
It is VERY hard to avoid ๐Ÿ™


24 Allergy Guy May 31, 2011 at 11:27

Thanks Mia. It must be extremely challenging to have a son who is that allergic to wheat.

Different people have different levels of sensitivity, and that is worth keeping in mind. On the other hand, some people have symptoms they are unable to get rid of and do not know are connected to a wheat allergy since they can’t completely avoid the stuff.

Too bad there isn’t a world-wide ban on wheat!


25 Mia May 29, 2011 at 21:14

BEWARE that Gluten Free doesn NOT mean Wheat Free and visa-versa.

Ylka- If you have a true Wheat allergy DO NO eat Gluten Free foods! To be labelled Gluten Free a product only needs to have been certified to have ‘no detectable traces’ of Gluten.

Gluten intolerance and Wheat allergy are very different and you need to make sure what you are eating is certified Wheat Free, if indeed you have an allergy.

So when people write “Gluten Free/Wheat Free”, they do not understand that there is a difference.

Our baby is ALLERGIC to Wheat, Barley, Rye and Egg White. People often confuse this (excluding the Egg) with Coeliac Disease (Gluten Intolerance), which isn’t the case. These are immune responses to protein/s in these things and he suffers Anaphylactic Shock.

I do agree with Angie- I can’t find much information on the different names/forms of Barley for when I check through packaging. We avoid all processed foods anyway for his Wheat allergy so I imagine that keeps most allergens away from him.

I am currently researching Vinegars currelty- anyone have info? I know Malt Vinegar is Barley derived but am womdering about White, Wine, Spiced, etc.


26 Allergy Guy May 30, 2011 at 16:27

Can you provide specific examples of gluten-free foods that are not wheat-free?


27 Ylka Ortega March 25, 2011 at 17:19

I am allergic to wheat and barley also. Anything made with wheat flour has also barley in it also. My allergist told me of only 1 wheat flour that does not have barley in it also. I beleive it is the one called Gold label. This is too bad for me as I also have a wheat allergy.


28 Allergy Guy March 25, 2011 at 20:53

Hi Ylka,

I know how you feel!

If you follow a gluten-free diet, you’ll be fine. Luckily that is getting easier every day in many places, but it does depend on what country you live in.

There is lots of information on following a gluten-free/wheat-free diet on this website and elsewhere on the web.

Lots of people do it (I’m gluten-free) and eat lots of fantastic tasting and healthy food!


29 Shelley February 3, 2012 at 16:38

I have a Barley, Malt and Oat allergy (plus a few other items). We have found two all purpose flours that do not have Malted Barley in them. One is Martha White and the other is from Whole Foods called 365 Unbleached All-Purpose Baking Flour. Becareful though, the organic version of this flour has malted barley in it. My husband does the baking in our house and likes this flour better than the Martha White flour. He makes me homemade begals and Pizza crust with it.

I also stay away from equal and splenda since they are made from maltdextrin.


30 mimi June 3, 2010 at 17:42

I have allergies to corn, barley, rye, oats, milk, lettuce, green peppers and grapes. What grains can I use as an alternative


31 Allergy Guy June 4, 2010 at 12:07

See the article alternatives to wheat. Not everything on that list will suit you, but I hope most of it will.


32 lisa March 16, 2011 at 03:51

Im a little late responding , but there are potato and millet flours you could try. I actually find them to have a nice flavor as well.


33 Guest September 24, 2009 at 18:29


Look at labels on bags of flour at supermarket. Look at bread labels. You will find that FLOUR can be up to 1/4 barley if it is labeled according to FDA. Hence that is why all the interest in barley allergies. Need to do research on this subject!


34 Guest May 8, 2009 at 02:17

allergy from barley

I have been taking barley essentials for 2.5 months now. I have been undergoing detoxification for this period of time and i got rashes all over my body from just using it. I just want to know if these rashes are from the detox process or because i have allergies from taking it. I hope, somebody would help. I believe it helped me with my immunity from diseases but if these rashes won’t go away, I might as well stop taking it.


35 admin May 9, 2009 at 00:27

Try a different detox

I suggest you try a different detox program, one that is free of barley.

If the rashes go away, you can try food with barley in it and see if the rashes come back.

Hope that helps.


36 Guest February 23, 2009 at 23:18

Make sure you check your

Make sure you check your breads. Barley flour is listed in a lot of breads


37 Carrie May 6, 2008 at 14:26


It’s just tough. I found out today that another food she likes is no longer in stores. I’m lobbying but there’s no telling when it will be back. So, in the meantime, we have cut fried egg on wheat sandwiches with a beer chaser from her diet. Hopefully, she’ll outgrow this soon!


38 Carrie May 1, 2008 at 18:30

barley information

I see that barley is listed here and yet I cannot find a list of ingredients to avoid, or anything regarding dealing with it. Just comments about why it may not be a barley allergy. My 18 month old daughter has tested allergic to wheat, egg and barley and not knowing the barley derivatives makes it even more difficult to find food for her. Other sites have lists of ingredients to avoid for wheat and egg. I know barley for sure, and malt but think that dextrin or maltodextrin are also prohibited. Any idea where I can get more information on barley?


39 admin May 1, 2008 at 21:43

More information coming soon

You are right Carrie, this section needs to be expanded. I’ll see what I can do in the next week or two …

Off the top of my head, I know that barley is used in most beer for sure, but that won’t effect your 18 month old!

New Article About Barley: Foods that contain Barley


40 angie June 12, 2008 at 18:32

barley allergy

my child is also very allergic to barley. I can not even eat anything with barley in it for when I breast feed her she’ll have a reaction. Do you have any info on other names for barley, or products that have barley in it. Thank you very much. Please email me if you can.



41 Trevin March 19, 2009 at 05:09

Barley info

It is extremely difficult to avoid barely from your diet especially if you eat out much. The majority of breads and cereals contain barley or barley malt. I’ll try to make a short to give you a general idea on what to avoid. Barley is commonly found in hot dog buns, hamburger buns, crackers, pretzels, cakes, some pie crust, bread crumbs taht used in cooking example: (progresso). I believe Barley is used as a binder so it is found in all sorts of chips that would not seem likely culprits. I’ve found in potato chips especially Kettle Brand, and even some corn ships although many seem to be free of it. It is of course found in Beer, but it can in other beverages, especially instant breakfast mixes like Carnation, or in some coca mixes. It is found some vegetable soups, I haven found it gumbo mix and brown rice syrup. It can be labeled so many different ways, that it is not always obvious. Barley , Barley Malt, Malt or Maltodextrin(which can be rice or corn, but they must indicate specifically to be safe. I was told that on occasion it is used as an ingredient in caramel coloring, although not always. So you can see sometimes your just playing a guessing game until the FDA places more stringent guidelines on labeling ingredients. I have am fortunate enough not to have a wheat allergy, so I can’t help you much there, only to say that most things containing barley are likely to contain wheat.

For those like me you are only allergin to Barley I have discovered that a few Products that are barley-free:
Nature’s own: 100% whole wheat bread
Nature’s Own double fiber hot dog buns (Pepridge Farm also makes a barley-free hot dog bun)
Zesta Saltine Crackers are barley-free
Cherios, shredded wheat, Kix, Corn pops, Life, and quite a few others.

Please read the ingredients on the products I listed, as the manufacturer can change the recipe at any time.

I hope this has been helpful and I wish you the best of luck.


42 admin March 19, 2009 at 09:29

Thanks Trevin

Thanks Trevin, very helpful.


43 Frank Gomez July 4, 2009 at 14:07

Barley Free

I’ve only found a few cereals very few that work.
Oatios (made by General Mills)
A few Cereals made from Brown Rice (be sure they don’t have malt or maltodextrin)
and Publix carries a Greenwise branded cereal “toasted Oats” (plain version only).
Whole foods also has a few varieties of granola with no barley or malt.
Also watch out for a sweetener called fructan.
I love Quorn products, (Frozen fake chicken nuggets) nice short ingredient lists!

Good luck.


44 Chelsea July 20, 2012 at 19:15

The sourdough boule at Trader Joes is barley free, as are some of their hamburger and hot dog buns. I find trader joes priceless, I don’t know why its low on barley, but I’m not gonna question it!


45 Frank Gomez July 4, 2009 at 13:52

Barley Allergy

I have been “studying” my allergies for years and have narrowed it down to Barley after years of frustration. Here is my list:

Malt (in an product unless it says “from corn”)
Fructan (surprise! a sweetener made from Barley)
Beer (or any alcoholic beverage made from Barley)
Rice Malt (Usually contains barley or Koji, contact manufacturer)
Malt (check with manufacturer, generally wheat/barley based)
Malt Extract
Malt Syrup
Malt Flavoring
Malt Vinegar
Almost any processed food seems to have Maltodextrin.

Most people want to lump me in with gluten intolerance or celiac disease but I have no problem with Rye or Oats which are 2 of the main grains that contain gluten


46 Jennifer Gilgen March 10, 2011 at 21:31

At last someone who can relate to my allergy. I am getting worse as I get older . If I slip up and eat anything on the above posts list I am in a terrible way for the next day or so. My symptoms are stomach cramps , vomiting , excessive sweats , tingling in ears throat , swollen legs ,on the toilet for up to 6 hrs at a time. The symptom that really terrifies me is breathlessness. I have lived with this for 24 years and still make mistakes , even tiny mouthfuls.


47 lisa March 16, 2011 at 03:55

I have been having the food sensitivites as well for years, I have not narrowed all of them down. I know sodium nitrate, MSG, and yeast seem to bother me. I also get the breathlessness, sometimes even chest pain. I absolutley hate it. It is the worst sypmtom. And I get terrible headaches and fatigue and tingling , itchy sensations as well, even tension and shivers.


48 jennifer gilgen March 20, 2011 at 00:37

hi lisa ,

hope you dont have the breathlessness or chest pain anymore . it really is awful.

49 Malcolm Bubb April 25, 2012 at 09:00

Just wanted to say thanks to Frank Gomez, above, for his list.
I am 30, have been experiencing varying heart failure and chest pain for 4 years, and IBS for much longer. Even had a heart valve replaced which didn’t help at all. Finally I am realizing Barley is a major culprit in my IBS, and mostly thanks to Frank’s list. I am hoping now that I have more control over my IBS (which leaves me drained in every sense) I can reduce my chest pain, and build up a larger cardiac output again (as when I go without pain I start to feel a little better again). UK doctors are pretty useless with allergies, they have a ‘probably cant do’ attitude as opposed to the “lets try this then this then that” attitude that there seems to be in the states.


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