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"May Contain" Warnings on Gluten-Free Products


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Why do so many products say "may contain traces of wheat"? This is on boxes of plain rice, cans of plain beans, and so much more. Help!




Hi Suz. The claims “may contain traces of wheat,” “produced in a facility that manufactures wheat” and “produced on equipment that manufactures wheat” are all voluntary claims made by a manufacturer to let consumers know there is the possibility of wheat and, therefore, gluten cross-contamination in that product. What these claims mean is that the manufacturer is not using a dedicated gluten-free facility and that wheat products are made in the same facility as the product you are purchasing.

These claims are confusing, and it is hard for consumers to know what the risk of gluten contamination can be. When these claims are made, it is best to call the manufacturer to understand how the product is made, so you can determine for yourself the relative risk for gluten contamination. In the particular case of “may contain traces of wheat,” it is a good idea to err on the side of caution and not purchase products with this claim. 

Be well,

Rachel Begun, MS, RD

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