What Fruits are Gluten Free? (Answer: None, and All)

Gluten has become such a “fad” topic that most people realize gluten is found in wheat and a few other grains. For someone with celiac disease, however, even trace amounts of gluten can cause issues, so simply avoiding wheat isn’t going to cut it. This raises the question, “are there fruits that have gluten in them?”

Short answer: No. Gluten is a protein found in grains, not fruits. Fruits are naturally gluten free. (Yay!)

Long answer: well, all fruits are naturally gluten free, but not all fruit sold in stores is safe for gluten-free consumption.

Fresh Fruit Cross Contamination

Its’ highly unlikely that any fresh, unprocessed fruit you find in the produce section will have gluten. The trace amounts that would come from a store’s bakery, or from product containing gluten, is minimal. Fruits naturally repel contaminants with peels and skins, so keep enjoying those fresh strawberries or seedless watermelon. Of course, washing fruits is always a good idea.

If fruits are naturally gluten free, what problem could there possibly be? Well, if the fruit has been processed, you might have issues. That fresh fruit salad may have been made on the same equipment as the hoagie, BLT and cheese sandwhiches also being sold. Gluten contamination is measured in ppm, or parts per million, so even a teeny tiny amount of gluten could do serious damage to someone with celiac disease. Unless the store certifies their processed fruit is gluten free, it’s best to be very, very cautious.

Also, many stores now offer a salad or buffet line. Both are notorious for cross contamination. (How many times have you seen someone use the same serving spoon for the croutons and eggs and romaine lettuce?) Avoid these like the plague!

Canned, Dried and Frozen Fruits

Thankfully, nearly all canned and frozen fruits are gluten free, both naturally and due to strict processing procedures. While some stores, such as Wegman’s, will mark all their gluten free products, even frozen or canned fruits without a “certified gluten free” label are probably safe.

Keep in mind, however, that this goes for fruits sold without any additives. If you’re buying canned peach pie filling, it may be a fruit, but it could also have spices or flavorings with added gluten. Checking the ingredients list is a good idea, and when in doubt, a call to the company will often confirm whether gluten is present or not.

Dried fruits are often safe, but some are processed on shared equipment. Again, it’s always wise to check the packaging for any warnings.


Posted in: Gluten Free Foods

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