Celiac Support Association

Evaluating Vinegar Choices . . .

  • Some people with celiac disease maintain optimal health by choosing only naturally gluten-free products, others find a personal balance between a greater range of gluten-free labeled products that are not inherently gluten-free. 
  • As a group most people on a gluten-free diet are risk adverse. The symptoms of be "glutened" are weighed against the risk of trying products.
  • There is no typical person with celiac disease each one develops a personal method to assess risk and choose food and beverages.
  • Information below provides aspects to consider when choosing vinegar.


Vinegars produced from anything but gluten sources are Risk Free Choices

The risk-free vinegar choices for those on a gluten-free diet are vinegar, apple cider vinegar, fruit, corn, rice, wine and balsamic vinegars. These are natually or inherently gluten-free.  

The Foundation Step of the Three Step Approach to Self-Management of celiac disease consists of only risk-free choices to speed healing.  The Foundation Step of the self-management approach excludes foods  possibly derived from wheat, barley, rye or oats (WBRO) their crosses and their derivatives. 

Minimal RISK Choices

Vinegar Derived from a Gluten Source  -- 20 ppm or less gluten level

Uncontaminated oats and distilled vinegars are added during the Expanding Step. Distilled vinegars are very highly processed.  After the initial fermenting and filtering, ingredients are highly diluted with gluten-free water. No matter what the source ingredients, these highly processed and fermented vinegars test below 20 ppm of gluten. Distilled vinegars are considered gluten-free under any current gluten-free regulation in the world.  For most but not all people with celiac disease food products testing less than 20 ppm gluten will be suitable, including vinegar and other products with grain derivatives. 

Theoretically, distilled vinegars are highly unlikely to contain any of the celiac toxic amino acid fractions. Yet, a portion of people with celiac disease, up to 10%, self report "gluten" like symptoms after consuming specific products made with distilled vinegar.

The Expansion Step begins with remission of symptoms.  Working the self-management approach, both minimal risk and risk-free product choices expand the personal pantry.  In this case, a person may use company assurances, ingredient review, processing information, various references and individual criteria to personalize the food choices. The CSA Recognition Seal certification on a products means it has tested less than 5 ppm. 

High RISK Choices -- greater than 20 ppm gluten level
Malt or Malt flavored vinegar (Barley source) and enhanced vinegar

Gluten-Free Diet Self Management - The 3-Step Approach
The Celiac Support Association (CSA), proven step by step management tool for a person and their health professionals to build and evaluate a personal health plan.
FDA Compliance Guide  Best guidance on products not in Federal Register

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