Which ingredient in this list might contain malt?

Which ingredient in this list might contain malt?

In honor of Celiac Disease Awareness Month 2018,

A series of bites, barks, tail wags, face licks, and pant tugs from Gluten Free Watchdog

May 14, 2018

Gluten Free Watchdog pant tug, Post # 14

Question: In the US, which ingredient in the list below might contain malt causing the product to have a gluten level of at least 20 ppm when tested with the competitive R5 ELISA (detects gluten protein fragments from fermented/hydrolyzed protein)?

Ingredients: Yellow corn meal, Chili powder, Maltodextrin, Corn starch, Cumin, Dried onion, Garlic powder, Potassium chloride, Yeast extract, Onion powder, Sugar, Black pepper, Citric acid, Oregano, Red pepper, Celery seed

Answer: yeast extract

The ingredient “yeast extract” may be made from spent yeast. Spent yeast is a by-product of the beer brewing process—what is left of the yeast once it has been used to make beer. As a result spent brewer’s yeast may contain grain and/or malt.

In the US, barley protein is not considered a major allergen and it is not included in the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA). Consequently, there is no way to know from the food label whether the ingredient yeast extract contains barley protein unless barley is voluntarily declared.

If a product containing yeast extract is not labeled gluten-free, it is important to clarify with the manufacturer whether spent yeast is the source of yeast extract.

Note: Some of you may have guessed maltodextrin. Despite the name, maltodextrin is not malt. It is the case that maltodextrin may be made from wheat starch. But under FALCPA, if an FDA-regulated food product contains maltodextrin and the maltodextrin contains protein derived from wheat, the word wheat must be included on the food label (e.g., maltodextrin (wheat). If you don’t see the word wheat on the label of an FDA-regulated product containing maltodextrin, the food product does not contain wheat protein as an ingredient.


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Comments (12)

  • Dee Reply

    It is information like this that keep me from eating processed foods. So much makes me sick and I never know why.


    After getting dx’d with CD, I started having clonic tonic type seizures. After much elimination, I discovered the seizures were caused by rice.

    Do you, or any one out here in Cyberland happen to know if seizures are common after dx of CD?

    Thank you for keeping us all informed.

    May 14, 2018 at 9:30 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      Dee, this sounds like an issue to discuss with your gastroenterologist.

      May 15, 2018 at 8:28 pm
  • Beth Reply

    I think another “possible barley / malt derived ingredient” I have read about is smoke flavoring. Are there others that you are aware of, that should be a red flag to do research on?

    May 15, 2018 at 12:35 am
  • Angelica Reply

    Can you explain a bit more about maltodextrin? First I’m not sure about dextrin vs dextrose (though I did find an explanation of that, I imagine I’m not alone in that confusion so I decided to ask anyway). Second, how come you focus on wheat NOT being in maltodextrin but just before you were talking about barley being in malt? I mean, I came away with the impression that imaltodextrin could also be a barley source. Actually I’ve seen some websites that claim it is always a gluten ingredient. So I imagine I’m not alone in that confusion either.

    I guess I should also take this opportunity to ask, how come some nutritional yeast can be certified gluten free? The Bragg brand, for instance. I thought it was a byproduct of baking or beer making or something like that. But this is another gray area I’m not sure about.

    Thank you for this series, I’m learning so much!

    May 15, 2018 at 5:37 am
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      Let me try to address your questions.
      Malt by definition is barley unless another source is named (e.g., corn malt).
      Regarding the question in this post (which ingredient might contain malt),some folks will think the answer is maltodextrin. If I simply said, no it does not contain malt/barley, many would ask about wheat. Hence the reason why wheat is addressed.
      Maltodextrin is a starch hydrolysate. It is typically made from corn starch but can be made from wheat starch. If it is, then the word wheat must be included in the ingredients list: maltodextrin (wheat) and/or the Contains statement (Contains: wheat). This applies to FDA regulated foods.
      Dextrin is also a starch hydrolysate and it may be made from wheat starch. Dextrose is a form of glucose. If dextrin or glucose is made from wheat and wheat protein is present in the ingredient, then wheat must be named in the ingredients list or Contains statement (FDA-regulated foods). For more information on these and other ingredients see https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/wheat-grass-wheat-glucose-syrup-etc-allowed-in-foods-labeled-gluten-free-heres-why/
      Regarding Bragg nutritional yeast, this is from the manufacturer website, “Bragg derives its primary grown nutritional yeast from pure strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae grown on mixtures of beet and cane molasses in combination of nutrients.”
      Hope this helps!

      May 15, 2018 at 2:45 pm
    • Justyn Reply

      Malt is not what something is. Malt is the process of making cereal grains germinate and then drying them out. This makes the grains change the starches into sugars. This process is used for beer making because the yeast needs sugar to ferment better. So, since barley is normally what’s used for many things, most people assume malt means it has to be barley. But corn malt, is the exact same process done – hence the term malt is used. It means the ingredient (corn) was germinated and then dried. My husband and I brew beer and deal a lot with malted barley.

      May 18, 2018 at 2:45 pm
  • G Reply

    What do you look for on an ingredient label for malt allergy?

    July 16, 2020 at 2:41 am
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      By malt allergy do you mean barley allergy?

      July 16, 2020 at 5:22 pm
      • G Reply

        Barley showed up negative as did wheat. Oats showed up positive as did malt.
        I was living for years as gluten-free so was consuming oats and avoiding wheat. Apparently I got it wrong.

        July 16, 2020 at 7:53 pm

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