Does gluten free mean it is always wheat free?

No, gluten free does not always mean wheat free.

Some manufacturers use wheat that has had the gluten removed to make gluten free foods. A typical example is that some European gluten free breads and rolls have wheat in them that has had the gluten removed, they do this to make them more like ordinary bread or rolls, therefore although it's gluten free it's not wheat free.

Gluten free recipe books use ingredients that are gluten free. Gluten free wheat starch is an expensive, difficult to source ingredient for most home bakers, therefore it's not something that would normally be included in a gluten free recipe book, and if it was, then it would be listed as such. It is generally only used by some gluten free product manufacturers.

This is what Coeliac UK states with reference to Codex wheat starch.

Juvela, gluten free product manufacturer, statement on gluten free wheat starch.

Glutafin, gluten free product manufacturer, statement on gluten free wheat starch.

This means you need to read the ingredients list on gluten free breads (or other baked products, including biscuits or cakes) carefully, to ensure that it does not contain codex wheat starch with the gluten removed

Therefore you need to exercise a bit of caution, as all gluten free foods are not necessarily safe for you to eat if you have a wheat allergy or intolerance. Some products help by actually saying "wheat & gluten free" on the label.

Last updated: 07/09/2013