What's the Difference Between Gluten Friendly and Gluten Free?

What's the Difference Between Gluten Friendly and Gluten Free?

The Difference Between Gluten-Free and Gluten-Friendly May Shock You

You see a delicious-looking package of cookies at the grocery store. The label says "gluten-friendly." You are on a gluten-free diet. Should you add these cookies to your shopping cart? If you are avoiding gluten because of allergies or sensitivities, understanding the difference between a gluten-free and a gluten-friendly product can save you many headaches.

What Is Gluten?

Gluten comes from oats, barley, rye, and wheat. Products made using those ingredients or derived from those substances have gluten. Examples include flour and malt vinegar. Gluten is often included in processed sauces, foods, teas, and coffees.

Why Is Gluten Harmful for Some People?

It is okay for most people to eat gluten. However, a person with celiac disease or an inflammatory disorder cannot naturally absorb and process gluten.

Because of how dangerous gluten can be for some people, the FDA regulates the voluntary labeling of food packaging. The goal is to make food packaging easier for people to understand. Gluten is also used in some skincare products. However, there is no scientific evidence that gluten in cosmetics is harmful as long as the cosmetics are not ingested.

Gluten-Friendly Versus Gluten-Free

If you are shopping for gluten-free snacks, like gluten-free macaroon cookies from 360 World Snacks, and you see a package that says gluten-friendly, what might you conclude? A product can be gluten-free in that it has no gluten in its ingredients. However, the product might be made in an environment where gluten is present, so cross-contamination could have occurred. A person with gluten sensitivities will have to evaluate the situation and determine if their sensitivities allow them to eat a product that could have been contaminated by gluten. 

Some have opted to use the term "made without gluten." This is more self-explanatory than gluten-free. It shows that the product was made without using gluten ingredients. However, there is the possibility that cross-contamination could have occurred. Some also choose to use the term, “gluten-friendly.” There is no exact definition for “gluten-friendly,” so you’ll have to read the label carefully.

The food industry is responsible for clearly informing its customers about the ingredients used in the products they sell. Not only does proper labeling protect an organization from legal action, but it also keeps customers safe and happy. Happy customers are at the heart of a thriving business.