Coeliac Disease: FAQs

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This diet sheet contains information on some miscellaneous food ingredients and lifestyle products which are often queried by people with coeliac disease regarding whether they are suitable for inclusion in a gluten free diet; along with some information regarding contamination.



  • Beer
  • Cider
  • Wine, spirits and liqueurs
  • Whisky and malt whisky

Miscellaneous Food Items and ingredients:

  • Liquorice and liquorice flavourings
  • Barleycup®
  • Malt, pure malt extract and malted drinks
  • Malt extract and maltextract flavourings
  • Yeast
  • Yeast Extract
  • Isomalt
  • Quorn®-Tofu-Wild Rice-Monosodium Glutamate(M.S.G)
  • Textured Vegetable Protein (T.V.P.) or Textured Soya Protein (T.S.P)
  • Glucose syrup, maltodextrin & dextrose

Drugs and medicines

Gum on envelopes


Toothpaste and other dental products


  • At home
  • Bakeries
  • Chips
  • Manufactured flours and cereals

If you have any queries regarding the gluten-containing status of any food products, or have any other queries, speak to your doctor or dietitian. Coeliac UK’s website also has useful information regarding diet andlifestyle with coeliac disease. As a member of Coeliac UK, you can gain access to the Food and Drink Directory which lists products which are suitable for inclusion in a gluten-free diet.


Beer – Normally, beers, lagers, stouts and ales contain gluten in varying amounts and are not suitable for people with coeliac disease. However, there are an increasing number of specially made gluten-free beers, names of which are included in the Food and Drink Directory.

Cider – Cider is made from apples and a similar product called Perry is made from pears. Both of these, including versions flavoured with different fruits, are completely gluten-free and therefore suitable for people with coeliac disease.

Wine, spirits and liqueurs – All these products are made from naturally gluten-free raw materials and are therefore suitable to include in the gluten-free diet. All wine, from anywhere in the world, champagne, fortified wines such as sherry and port, liqueurs and many spirits including brandy, gin and rum are gluten-free.

Whisky and malt whisky – The distillation process by which all whiskies are made removes the gluten therefore they may be included in the gluten-free diet.

Miscellaneous Food Items and Ingredients

Liquorice and liquorice flavourings – Liquorice is manufactured using liquorice root and wheat flour and therefore it is not gluten-free. Solid liquorice, such as liquorice ropes or Liquorice Allsorts are not suitable for inclusion in a gluten-free diet. However, liquorice flavouring used in the manufacture of boiled sweets is gluten-free and therefore some products containing flavouring are included in the Coeliac UK Foodand Drink Directory.

Barleycup® – Barleycup® is an instant drink made from barley and rye. However, the extraction process used to make the drink removes all of the gluten, so the resulting drink is suitable for people with coeliac disease.

Malt, pure malt extract and malted drinks – Malt is produced by steeping barley in water and allowing it to germinate or sprout, therefore the resulting malt is not gluten-free. People with coeliac disease are advised to avoid products which contain a high percentage of malt extract, such as malted drinks.

Malt extract and malt extract flavourings – Malt extract and malt extract flavourings are widely used in small amounts, in the food industry, as flavour enhancers. For example, they are contained in most brands of breakfast cereals, malt vinegars and many other branded manufactured products. Many of these products are included in the Food and Drink Directory and are suitable for inclusion in a gluten-free diet, as the amount of gluten they contain is below the allowed level for gluten-free products (the Codex standard).

Some people with coeliac disease are very sensitive to gluten and are not able to tolerate even the smallest amount allowed by the Codex standard. If you are very sensitive to gluten you may not tolerate malt extract either. If you are concerned that you may be sensitive to malt extract, discuss it with your dietitian.

Yeast – Fresh yeast is naturally gluten-free. However, some brands of dried yeast contain wheat starch so are unsuitable for inclusion in the gluten-free diet. Check the label or the Food and Drink Directory to check whether a dried yeast product is gluten-free.

Yeast Extract–please refer to the Food and Drink Directory for suitable options.

Isomalt – Isomalt is often found in diabetic sweets and chocolate and in some other confectionary. It is made from sugar beet and is therefore completely safe for people with coeliac disease in that it is naturally gluten-free. However, it does have the property of acting as a mild laxative, and large amounts of foods containing isomalt can therefore cause diarrhoea.

Quorn® – Quorn®is the brand name of a meat substitute made from mycoprotein –this is a type of fungi, bound together with egg and is gluten-free. Care should be taken that all ingredients in Quorn® products are also gluten free.

Tofu – Tofu is a bean curd, which is sold in various forms to use in recipes. It is gluten-free and safe for people with coeliac diseaseto eat.Wild Rice–Wild riceis gluten-free and therefore suitable for people with coeliac disease.

Monosodium Glutamate (M.S.G.) – a flavour enhancer used in many manufactured products. Commercially it is made from sugar beet and wheat. However, during the processing the wheat gluten is completely broken down and can be eaten by people with coeliac disease.

Textured Vegetable Protein (T.V.P.) or Textured Soya Protein (T.S.P) – T.V.P or T.S.P. is a meat substitute product which is made from soya and is gluten free. However, care should be taken that all the ingredients in the T.V.P or T.S.P. products are gluten free.

Glucose syrup, maltodextrin & dextrose – These are derived from wheat, but they are processed to remove the gluten and are therefore gluten-free.

Drugs and Medicines

Wheat, wheat flour or wheat starch are only rarely used as fillers in drugs. It would appear that only a very small number of medicines contain gluten. Check the labelling on your medications or any over the counter supplements you take. If you are not sure or suffer any adverse effect, check with your doctor or pharmacist.

Gum on envelopes

The gum used in these products is gluten-free and perfectly safe for people with coeliac disease.


Play-Doh® and similar products used by children are not gluten-free. Play-Doh® contains 40% wheat flour and children with coeliac disease playing with this should be supervised to ensure that they do not eat it. Home-made play dough, which is often used in nurseries and playgroups, is usually made almost entirely from wheat flour.

Toothpaste & other dental products

Most toothpaste is gluten-free. Gluten only causes a problem if it is eaten, so children should be supervised when brushing to minimise swallowing.All dental fixatives, denture cleaners and mouthwashes are completely gluten-free.


Contamination of gluten-free foods with gluten-containing foods is a major problem for people with coeliac disease, as even tiny amounts of gluten can damage the small bowel lining.

At home

At home, it is essential that care is taken to avoid cross contamination with gluten containing foods. Separate bread boards should be used for gluten-free bread, and toast should be prepared in a separate toaster or toaster bags.The person with coeliac disease should use separate butter and spreads, or ensure that clean knives and spoons are always used when preparing toast with gluten-containing ingredients, to ensure gluten-containing crumbs do not contaminate the shared product.


Some bakeries offer to make special gluten-free products from gluten-free flours and mixes. We strongly advise people with coeliac diseasenotto use this facility unless the bakery can confirm there has been no cross contamination with flours normally used in the bakeries.People with coeliac diseaseshould be wary that individual meringues and macaroons, bought from bakeries and cake shops, may be made from gluten-free ingredients but are likely to be contaminated by gluten-containing products used in the same establishments.


Some supermarket bought and restaurant chips may be coated with wheat flour or gluten containing flavourings. Look or ask for plain chips that are labelled gluten free. Fish and chip shop chips may be deep fried in fat, which has previously been used to fry products coated in gluten containing batter or breadcrumbs. Some chip shops do a ‘gluten free’ day.

Manufactured flours and cereals

Although some flours and cereal products are naturally gluten-free, they can be manufactured or processed in the same place as wheat containing products. Cross contamination can occur at this time, and the product may not be able to be labelled ‘gluten free’ for this reason. If such products, e.g. oats, are labelled gluten free then you can be sure they have been produced in a gluten free environment.