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Does Malt Extract Contain Gluten?

By Leah Hart, R.D.

Malt extract is a common addition and flavoring agent to processed foods. The extract is usually made from barley, a grain that contains gluten. Rye and wheat also contain gluten. For people who have gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, avoiding most or all gluten in food is very important to maintain health and avoid life-threatening complications.

Gluten Content of Malt Extract

Malt extracts contain a varying amount of gluten depending on the type of extract. Some gluten-free food products may still legally use malt extract as an ingredient. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, these products can legally be labeled "gluten-free" as long as the gluten concentration in the final product does not exceed 20 parts per million, which is the lowest consistently detectable level of gluten.

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