It really comes down to knowing what to look out for so that you can avoid suspect foods unless you have verified with the manufacturer that the food in question is in fact gluten-free (or not). This article contains some guidelines.
The Codex alimentarius is an international guideline that, amongst other things, indicates when a food should be specifically labeled “gluten free”. Because it is a set of guidelines, compliance is voluntary so you can not depend on appropriate gluten free labeling.
Gluten is an unexpected addition to foods for reasons that have everything to do with processing and marketing, and nothing to do with nutrition or traditional recipes.
For example, some flavors contain gluten, believe it or not. Gluten is also used as a food stabilizer and may be included in some processed foods without being listed in the ingredients.
This is crazy, but as gluten intolerance and gluten allergies become more widely recognized as a significant problem, labeling laws will change, but this will take time, and will come sooner in some countries, and later in others.
In the mean time, you must be vigilant.
Gluten Hazards to Watch Out For
Here is a list of some gluten-containing foods to watch out for. You must call the manufacturer and carefully explain your need for a gluten free diet, and find out if they can guarantee their product to be gluten-free. If they can not guarantee this, or you are not convinced they understand the their own product properly, do not eat the food.
- Some natural and artificial flavors
- Ice cream
- Salad dressing
This is not a complete list. It will expand as new information comes my way.
If you know of other foods that may contain gluten without it being listed, please leave a comment.