Without doubt one of the most read posts on this blog concerns Branston Pickle and answers the question, is pickle gluten free?
You might notice in the url for this post that the date shows as 2010. You would be correct in thinking this was originally posted 10 YEARS ago but I have completely refreshed this post and included more up to date information and links to sources on this topic.
Whether pickles, and more generally, the topic of whether barley malt vinegar is suitable for coeliacs, is a subject I see discussed frequently online.
Please note: This is a UK based blog so the information you’ll find here is based on guidance given to Coeliacs in the UK and Europe. If you’re reading this from elsewhere, your information may be different so please undertake your own research in your local country.
In order to answer the question is Branston pickle gluten free, we need to establish whether barley malt vinegar is considered gluten free.
The official position on barley malt vinegar in the UK is this from the Coeliac UK website:
“Question: Can I eat barley malt vinegar?
Barley malt vinegar is made from barley and is found in pickles, chutneys and some sauces. If it is used in a food product the manufacturer must list the word ‘barley’ in the ingredients list in line with EU wide allergen labelling law.
Barley malt vinegar is made using a fermentation process. This means that the amount of barley, and therefore gluten, in the end product is extremely small and is well below a level which is safe for people with coeliac disease. In addition, barley malt vinegar is usually only eaten in small amounts, for example, drained pickled vegetables, sauces with a meal or on chips.
Balsamic, cider, sherry, spirit, white wine and red wine vinegar are not made from barley and can also be included in your gluten free diet.”
Source of data: Coeliac UK website, information correct as of June 2020
You may have spotted that I specify “in the UK” above. Why? Because the position on barley malt vinegar varies depending on which country you live in or which organisation’s guidance you follow.
In our world of blogs, social media which allow us global interactions within the Coeliac community, it’s important to remember that posters in forums and online may give you advice which is contradictory to your understanding, due to the difference in approach on safe limits of ingredients for coeliacs.
Conclusion: If you are in the UK, Branston pickle is considered to be gluten free.
Thanks for visiting this blog. Although this post is about whether pickle is gluten free, most of the blog posts here cover gluten free travel.
How about some gluten free travel inspiration with the following posts:
- My gluten free guide to London’s best gluten free restaurants, cafes and gluten free bakeries written by me, a London based Coeliac
- The best gluten free afternoon tea at Claridges Hotel, London
- My gluten free guide to Italy covering plenty of tips and resources for planning a fantastic holiday to Italy
Still not sure if Branston Pickle is gluten free or if coeliacs can eat barley malt vinegar?
• Be mindful to this point when you read online advice/forum posts, especially if the advice differs from your understanding of safe limits/ingredients
• You may be one of the UK based coeliacs who finds they react to barley malt vinegar. Even if Coeliac UK say it’s safe for coeliacs, we should always make our own judgements on what’s safe for us
• Decide for yourself what you base your views on. Is it your dietician/GP’s advice? Is it the Coeliac association of the country you live in? Is it the Coeliac association of another country?
• Be respectful to others in the online community. I’ve seen many disputes on social media over gluten free beer. The regulations for coeliacs are different between the EU – where gluten removed beers such as Daura, Celia, San Miguel and more – can be labelled gluten free and the US and Australia – where gluten removed beers such as Omission – should not be labelled as gluten free in accordance with the their countries’ regulations).
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