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The question of whether vinegar is safe to include in a gluten-free diet is being asked again.
Vinegar was recently addressed in the Dietitians in Gluten Intolerance Diseases Corner column (volume 28, no. #3, winter 2009) I write for Medical Nutrition Matters, a newsletter for the Medical Nutrition Practice Group of the American Dietetic Association. I thought it would be helpful to share some of the information from that column with you. The article has been adapted with permission. Information was jointly compiled by Tricia Thompson, MS, RD, Cynthia Kupper, RD, Melinda Dennis, MS, RD, LD, Mary K Sharrett, MS, RD, LD, CNSD, Anne Lee, MSEd, RD, LD, and Pam Cureton, RD, LDN.
Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act there are no standards of identity for vinegar. Among other things, standards of identity define what ingredients must or may be used in the manufacture of food. There is, however, a Compliance Policy Guide (CPG 7109.22, Section 525.825) for vinegar that includes definitions for various types of vinegars, some of which are included below. These definitions remain FDA policy for labeling purposes.
Vinegar, Cider Vinegar, Apple Vinegar: The product made by the alcoholic and subsequent acetous fermentations of the juice of apples.
Wine Vinegar, Grape Vinegar: The product made by the alcoholic and subsequent acetous fermentations of the juice of grapes.
Malt Vinegar: The product made by the alcoholic and subsequent acetous fermentations, without distillation, of the infusion of barley malt or cereals whose starch has been converted to malt.
Spirit Vinegar, Distilled Vinegar, Grain Vinegar: The product made by the acetous fermentation of dilute distilled alcohol.
Historically, there have been four areas of concern surrounding the use of vinegar in gluten-free diets:
1. Is distilled vinegar gluten free? Yes, 100% distilled vinegar is made from distilled alcohol and all "pure" distilled alcohol is gluten free. This is true even if the starting material is wheat, barley, or rye. During distillation the liquid from fermented grain mash is boiled and the resulting vapor is captured and cooled. This causes the vapor to become liquid again. Because protein doesn't vaporize there are no proteins in the cooled liquid.
2. Is all non-distilled vinegar gluten free? Almost, but read ingredient lists carefully. According to The Vinegar Institute, the most commonly used starting materials for vinegar are apple, grape, corn, and rice. If non-distilled vinegar uses ... Continue
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