Is Peanut Butter Gluten Free?

PeanutButter1Peanuts, peanut flour, peanut oil, and peanut butter are naturally gluten free. The issue with peanut butter containing gluten, generally comes from the potential for cross contamination.

Peanut butter contains at least 90% peanuts, along with sugar and salt for flavoring. These three ingredients are usually all that go into making ‘natural’ peanut butter. Because natural peanut butters don’t contain stabilizers, the peanut oil will separate out, and collect at the top of the container.

The issue with peanut butter containing gluten, generally comes from the potential for cross contamination

The ‘stirred’ type of peanut butters that do contain stabilizers, are still made with gluten free ingredients (in North America). Vegetable or palm oils are used as stabilizers to prevent the separation of the peanut butter.

So why then aren’t all peanut butters labelled as gluten free? It really all comes down to the manufacturers’ bottom line.

Having a product that is certified as gluten free, requires companies to adhere to strict manufacturing standards within their facility, as well as routine testing of their products to ensure they are meeting the acceptable limits. All of this costs companies money. So instead, although they may not use gluten in their products, they will add a disclaimer to the label something like “May contain traces of wheat.”

The potential from cross contamination could come from a number of factors:

  • Allowing wheat into facility via staff lunches or an on-site cafeteria
  • Other products that contain wheat are also manufactured in the same facility

For the most part, cross contamination issues are small, with any traces of gluten found to be less than the “acceptable” limits of 20 parts per million. But if testing is not routinely performed and facility standards are not met, the gluten free label cannot be used.

Tip: Store natural peanut butter upside down in pantry. It’ll be easier to stir

If you’re someone who’s extremely sensitive to even trace amounts of gluten, then you may want to ensure the peanut butter brand you buy does clearly indicate the gluten free label.

Below is a list of peanut butters brands that are gluten free, as per their ingredient list, however may or may not be labelled as gluten free:

  • Adams
  • Jif
  • Meijer’s
  • Peter Pan
  • Planters
  • Real Brand
  • Skippy
  • Smuckers
  • Kraft
  • Squirrel

 What exactly does the new “gluten free” labelling law state?

FDA Defines Gluten FreeIn August 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated their regulations regarding using the term “gluten-free” for food labeling. It states as follows:

The final rule defines and sets conditions on the use of the term “gluten-free” in foods, including:

» Foods that inherently do not contain gluten (e.g., raw carrots or grapefruit juice) may use the “gluten-free” claim.
» Foods with any whole, gluten-containing grains (e.g., spelt wheat) as ingredients may not use the claim;
» Foods with ingredients that are gluten-containing grains that are refined but still contain gluten (e.g., wheat flour) may not use the claim;
» Foods with ingredients that are gluten-containing grains that have been refined in such a way to remove the gluten may use the claim, so long as the food contains less than 20 ppm gluten/has less than 20 mg gluten per kg (e.g. wheat starch);
» Foods may not use the claim if they contain 20 ppm or more gluten as a result of cross-contact with gluten containing grains.

 

Note: This article refers to pure peanut butters. Those with added flavors (ie. jam, chocolate, etc) have a higher potential for gluten containing ingredients, so be sure to check the label.

 

24 Comments

  1. Thanks for the feedback! It’s frustrating that living a gluten free lifestyle sometimes can feel like a guessing game – what does and doesn’t have (hidden) gluten? Hopefully at the end of the day, we leave you with more answers than questions 🙂 Have a great day!

  2. Marla , I am one of the unfortunate people that is allergic to gluten. Is regular all purpose flour safe for me to use?

  3. Are you referring to a specific recipe? Most recipes can be made with any gluten free flour blend you want (but each blend will have its own unique taste and texture). However bread recipes should have a flour blend specific to bread making – they require a higher protein content bake the best bread possible.

  4. Hi my name is Joe and I cook part time at a scout camp and we have a lot of adult and children who need gluten free meals and I have found a lot of meals on this site that I may be able to use, I also found a gluten free flour, that is made out of coconut. I’m going to use a Hershey chocolate cake receipt and instead of all purpose flour I’m going to use this coconut flour, I’ll let all know how it came out

  5. I’m glad you have found our recipes helpful, thanks for letting us know! Can’t wait to hear how the cake turns out (I’m guessing the gluten free flour you found with coconut is a blend, and not just 100% coconut flour?? If you’re using only coconut flour in the recipe you may need to alter the recipe by adding more eggs and liquids since that flour will absorb a lot of liquid and needs more ‘lifting’ power from the eggs).

  6. I buy one brand only – Teddy all natural, salt free. It contains only peanuts, period. I do not like the commercial brands that add all the other ingredients, gluten free or not.

  7. I have made my own peanut butter for years. Would like to find organic peanuts with absolutely nothing but peanuts but I use peanuts that are not salted. I put them in a food processor a little at a time and after they are ground up and become smooth…walla you have peanut butter….real peanut butter….try it you’ll love it and have control over what is put in your peanut butter. ENJOY

  8. Marla keep up the good work. I can really eat anything and have no problems but I prefer to stay on gluten free foods-organic as I can afford-eating organic is so expensive…Costco helps us poor folk….they are pretty fair…I enjoy your sharing your knowledge for free. So thank you for all you do in the name of trying to live healthy.

  9. Thank you so much for you thoughtful words. It really does give me the ‘positive fuel’ I need to keep going strong, thinking up great recipes, and researching/writing topics that are important to us in the gluten free world. Thanks again Fern, you made my day today 🙂

  10. Thanks! I’m glad to hear we are hitting the mark with our content. Have a great day!

  11. One of my problems are I need to put on weight as I weight 102 lbs. I’m 77 years old and fairly recently found I am gluten intolerant. I eat something gluten free and, I hope, healthy every two or three hours each day, exercise gently, keep active, etc. but I can’t gain much weight. Stuffing it in isn’t an option! All the information I have gathered at this site has been very helpful, however.

  12. You many already know this, but here are some healthy high fat foods you may want to introduce into your diet if you haven’t already: avocado, eggs, nuts/nut butter, cheese, dark chocolate, salmon, butter, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and sour cream.
    Try an ‘avocado deviled egg’ (i just made it up now!): half and avocado, and remove the pit. Stuff it with a hard boiled egg mashed together with some mayo and a sprinkling of paprika! Or another idea is to mash up a bit of the the avocado (if you’re not a huge fan of avocado) with the hard boiled egg and mayo, then use that as a filling for an egg salad sandwich – either in gluten free bread or in a lettuce cup.
    I can appreciate how frustrating managing your diet can be, but the main thing is to stay positive!

  13. Our local Big Y supermarket has a display with food grinders and many different kinds of nuts. A customer may grind their own and make themselves a pure product. They already have pure peanut butter ground for us, some with added honey.

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