Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows food manufacturers to make gluten-free claims under certain circumstances, you won't see the claim on Jif brand peanut butter labels, at least not as of the time of publication. Even though Jif peanut butter is free of gluten-derived ingredients, the J.M. Smucker Company that markets the brand follows a strict code when evaluating whether a product should be labeled gluten-free.
Gluten is a protein found in several grains, including bulgur, barley, rye, farina, triticale and wheat. Some grains are gluten-free, including tapioca, corn, polenta, rice, arrowroot, quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth. According to Mayo Clinic, gluten-free foods sometimes come into contact with gluten during processing. For example, because oats may be come into contact with wheat during production, Mayo Clinic advises individuals on a gluten-free diet to avoid oats unless a product is labeled gluten-free.
None of the ingredients in Jif Creamy Peanut Butter come from gluten-derived sources. Made from roasted peanuts, sugar, molasses, hydrogenated rapeseed and soybean oil, salt, and mono-and diglycerides, the product isn't likely to contain gluten, based on the ingredient list. If you've been advised to consume a gluten-free diet, consult with your doctor or a registered dietitian about whether including peanut butter in your diet is right for you.
Manufacturers that use the claim “gluten free” on labels bear the responsibility for determining whether a product is free of gluten, and the FDA mandates that the claim be accurate. According to the proposed FDA guidelines for “gluten-free” labels, a product must be free of ingredients from wheat, rye, barley and crossbreeds of these grains. Products derived from any of the prohibited grains may make the gluten-free claim only if processed to remove gluten. No product that contains more than 20 parts per million of gluten may bear the “gluten-free” claim.
J.M. Smucker Company
J.M. Smucker Company, the parent company of Jif products, bases its criteria for gluten-free claims on the FDA's proposed guidelines, including the stipulation that manufacturers making the claim are required to have a gluten management program. Even though Jif peanut butter isn't made from gluten-derived ingredients, the company's policy disallows the gluten-free claim because all the check points for gluten are not currently met. If you have concerns or questions about gluten in Jif products, you can contact the company directly at 800-283-8915.
- J.M. Smucker Company; Dena, Consumer Relations Representative; Orrville, Ohio
- Mayo Clinic; Gluten-Free Diet; Jan. 2009