Is Worcestershire Sauce Gluten Free?

When following a gluten-free diet, you have to be careful of sneaky ingredients. Worcestershire sauce often contains gluten, despite a lack of obvious labeling on the bottle. Common ingredients in the condiment are often derived from wheat products, but even if none of the ingredients comes from wheat, an ingredient can still be contaminated during processing.

Various sauces on a wooden table. Credit: Magone/iStock/Getty Images

Gluten and Celiac Disease

Gluten, a plant protein in wheat, rye and barley, can harm the more than 2 million Americans with celiac disease by causing nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and other symptoms. Some people who don't have celiac have sensitivity to gluten and may have symptoms after consuming it. If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, you need to avoid even small amounts of gluten. Gluten might be present in some Worcestershire sauce ingredients that are made with gluten-containing grains or are contaminated during processing.

Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire sauce is usually not gluten free. Anything made from a wheat, barley or rye derivative that is not distilled contains gluten, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation. Some brands of Worcestershire sauce use gluten-containing malt vinegar and soy sauce. Other cryptic ingredients like "natural flavorings" may contain gluten. When in doubt, call the company that makes the sauce or look for a certified gluten-free Worcestershire sauce.

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