Label reading for gluten-free living is like brushing your teeth, checking the mail, or doing dishes, it becomes a routine. And if you have never read a food label beyond glancing at the calories and fat grams per serving information, your label reading prowess is about to become considerably more advanced. But take solace in knowing that it will become as natural as driving; you won’t think much about it once you get the hang of it, but you’ll always need the right keys.
Until more uniform gluten-free labeling practices are implemented and set in place over the next several years, product labeling will be inconsistent and you have to diligently inspect each product. Follow these two steps to exercise your label-reading muscles and to get a solid routine in place:
Step One: Look on the front of the package and in the product’s title for the words “Gluten-Free” or the “GF” symbol. If you find one of them, you have immediate clearance to buy, almost. If not, go directly to the Nutrition Facts label on the package. It may be designated “Gluten-Free” at the bottom. Or you may find the heading “Contains,” which will list any of the allergens in the product. If you don’t see wheat or gluten, you have clearance (well . . . almost).
Step Two: If you can not readily find “Gluten-Free” or “GF” anywhere on the package, go to the ingredient listing usually found at the bottom of the Nutrition Facts box. You will find a laundry list of all ingredients in the product, and the basic rule of reading ingredients is: the ingredients are listed in the order of their amount in the product, most to least. Next step . . .