Products Labeled Gluten-Free Yet Containing Wheat-Based Soy Sauce

Products Labeled Gluten-Free Yet Containing Wheat-Based Soy Sauce

NEW: Three Jerks Jerky Soy Vay Veri Teriyaki: Based on product labeling (product purchased September 26th from Amazon) this product is labeled gluten-free yet contains soy sauce made from wheat. The USDA has been notified.

Chef Myron’s Magic 20 Gauge Marinade as well as ALL Chef Myron’s sauces labeled gluten-free and containing shoyu sauce made using wheat (February 28, 2017): This product is labeled gluten-free and contains shoyu sauce made using wheat. Also, please be aware that Chef Myron’s supplies products to other food manufacturers and food service. We have dealt with this manufacturer before. Both the product label and the website state that the wheat protein is broken down into amino acids during fermentation. Please see the FDA statement on soy sauce at the bottom of this post.

Salamida State Fair Big Hawaii Teriyaki Marinade (February 28, 2017): Based on photos shared with Gluten Free Watchdog this product is labeled gluten-free and contains soy sauce made using wheat. We spoke with the manufacturer yesterday and were told they would remove the gluten-free claim from the neck tag. We were also told that the gluten-free label will be removed from their steak sauce (see entry below).  

Royal Asia GF Glass Noodles with Vegetables (May 31, 2016): Based on product photos shared with GFWD this product is labeled gluten-free, includes the CSA certification seal on product packaging, and contains soy sauce that includes wheat as a sub-ingredient. Update June 6, 2016: According to CSA, they do not certify this product and they are taking appropriate action. GFWD has contacted the manufacturer/distributor.

Salamida Steak Sauce Flat Iron Grill Marinade (April 25, 2016): Labeled gluten-free yet contains soy sauce that lists wheat as a sub-ingredient. The manufacturer has been notified.

Tanka Teriyaki Bar (April 20, 2016): Labeled gluten-free yet contains soy sauce that lists wheat as a sub-ingredient. The manufacturer has been notified. The manufacturer website includes their rationale for why wheat-based soy sauce is okay to include in this bar. Currently wheat-based soy sauce is NOT allowed in foods labeled gluten-free.

Banjo Bourbon BBQ Sauce (under the Stop & Shop label) (April 20, 2016): Labeled gluten-free yet contains soy sauce that lists wheat as a sub-ingredient. Stop & Shop has been notified. Currently wheat-based soy sauce is NOT allowed in foods labeled gluten-free. UPDATE August 24: This product appears to have been reformulated. Soy sauce is no longer included in the ingredients list.

What the FDA states in their Q&A on the proposed rule for gluten-free labeling of fermented or hydrolyzed food that pertains to soy sauce:

What additional requirements does FDA propose to verify a “gluten-free” claim on hydrolyzed or fermented foods?

Because the current gluten tests do not adequately detect and quantify gluten in fermented and hydrolyzed foods or ingredients, FDA proposes that, in order to make a “gluten-free” claim, manufacturers of these foods would have to make and keep records to show all of the following:

The food meets the definition for “gluten-free” in 21 CFR 101.91(a)(3), including that the food had less than 20 ppm gluten, BEFORE (emphasis added by GFWD) fermentation or hydrolysis.

What is an example of a hydrolyzed or fermented food product that would STILL (emphasis added by GFWD) not be permitted to bear the “gluten-free” claim in its labeling under this proposed rule?

Fermented or hydrolyzed soy sauce made from gluten-containing grains would not be permitted to bear a “gluten-free” claim, unless the grains were processed to remove gluten and the use of the ingredient resulted in the presence of less than 20 ppm gluten in the food.

WHAT THIS MEANS (from GFWD not FDA): The wheat used in soy sauce would have to be processed to remove gluten BEFORE undergoing the fermentation used to make soy sauceFermentation/hydrolysis (unlike distillation) is not considered by the FDA to be a “process that removes gluten.” 

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Comments (3)

  • Bonnie Reply

    Tricia, Thanks go out to you and/or all of the GFWD subscribers who are reading these labels and doing the detective work. This report reaffirms the need to ALWAYS read labels, KNOW the current government rules and regulations (again thank you), QUESTION (where necessary) manufacturers’ “GF Product Statements and Packaging”, and HOLD them accountable.

    Much appreciated.

    August 26, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    I’m so glad you got them to listen. I reached out to them in 2015 but was totally ignored even when I sent them sources from the FDA website that states fermented foods can not be accurately tested. I was beyond frustrated with them.

    this is what she wrote to me:

    Regarding your letter challenging our labeling of our sauces as gluten free, I am writing to you as a co-owner of Myron’s Fine Foods. My name is Kathy Becker, RN. I can assure you that all our products have passed rigorous laboratory testing from the most reputable labs and we comply fully with the FDA regulations and hoops required to be able to say of our sauces:
    * GLUTEN and WHEAT : The wheat* has been processed to allow this food to meet the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements for gluten-free foods.” Our new labels being designed have that further clarifying statement.

    It has long been my dream to create sauces that people with celiac disease can enjoy too. We have finally achieved that goal through selection of the finest most natural, quality ingredients. I am not surprised that you find the new science about gluten protein confusing. Food science is showing new insight into the gluten molecule. It has been proven that long aging and the natural process of fermentation changes the gluten protein into amino acids. We were surprised and happy to find that our products have been gluten free all along. The FDA regulations require that any product must have levels of less than 20 parts per million to be labeled as gluten free. Our sauces test at below the least detectable limit of 10 parts per million. We are below the lowest level of gluten that it is possible to test for! So I am proud of our sauces and can without any fear stand before you or anyone to say, yes, we trust that our claims are true and that we are 100% compliant with the FDA regulations that protect the public. I hope you will visit our website and study our gluten free certification, and that you will regain your trust in us, because we value partnering with you in health!


    Kathy Becker, RN

    PS, the yellow of this email is so you can find this letter again and that you will reply to us.

    July 5, 2017 at 9:13 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      Hi Elena, While many manufacturers have listened, Myron’s Fine Foods appears to still be labeling their products gluten-free even though they contain wheat-based soy sauce. We will be posting about this issue again next week.

      July 5, 2017 at 9:28 pm

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