A variety of ingredients are currently overcoming serious image problems, and one of these is vinegar. Vinegars derived from nongluten ingredients such as rice, apples (cider vinegar), grapes (balsamic vinegar), and wine are naturally gluten-free and are considered safe, while malt vinegar is not gluten-free.
However, distilled vinegar has often been blacklisted from the gluten-free diet. Foods containing distilled vinegar such as ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard were commonly listed as foods to avoid in the past, and may still show up on outdated lists. But now these foods are being considered acceptable provided they do not contain any other gluten-derived ingredients that would bring the product into question. For example, a specialty mustard can contain distilled white vinegar but also wheat flour, making it not gluten-free.
Only until recently has distilled vinegar gained a place on the list of allowed ingredients for a gluten-free diet. And what is the reason for this change? Good old-fashioned science provides the answer. Indeed, distilled vinegar is derived from one or more gluten-grain sources, but it is believed that the distillation process effectively removes the gluten from the final product. Before this scientific reasoning came to the forefront, it had been commonly thought that gluten somehow could make its way into the finished product and produce a gluten ppm that could be unacceptable for highly sensitive individuals.
While science has determined that distilled vinegar is gluten-free, individuals can still be sensitive to it. However, the symptoms need to be attributed to something else, not gluten.
Tip: Check with manufacturers regarding fancy, flavored vinegars to rule out use of flavorings and processes that could make the product not gluten-free.