Is Mayo Gluten-Free?

Mayo is a condiment of yellowish-white color and a creamy consistency, which is often used as a base for sauces and salad dressings and also served with or used in sandwiches. (1) Seeing the popularity and its common usage all over the world, one wonders whether mayonnaise is safe to consume for people who are following a gluten-free diet. Let’s get into the details of the creamy world of mayo and see whether it is suitable for gluten intolerant people!

The Basic Mayo Ingredients: What Is Used For Making The Mayo?

Mayonnaise comprises of a blended emulsion of the following ingredients: oil, whole eggs or egg yolks; and acid (lemon juice or vinegar).(2) A combination of these 3 basic ingredients helps you in making the mayo. One can also add flavoring and spices to the mayo to increase its taste and these can consist of sugar, sea salt, white pepper, Dijon mustard, mustard seed and celery seed.

Oil Used In The Making Of Mayo

Different types of oils can be used in making the mayo. Neutral-flavor oil like avocado, canola, safflower or grape seed is used by most of the mayo manufacturers. If the oil is of strong flavor, such as olive oil, then it could overpower the mayo flavor.

A Discussion on Safety of Mayo Consumption for People Following a Gluten-Free Diet:

Gluten is found in wheat; and grains like rye and barley and it is a type of protein. There are some variations of wheat used in food products like cereal, bread, baked goods, pasta; sauces, salad dressings and soups.(3)

People suffering from celiac disease have to follow a rigid gluten-free diet that consists of completely avoiding barley, wheat, rye; and foods that have gluten in them. If such people were to consume gluten, then they will suffer from symptoms, such as bloating, diarrhea, constipation, weight loss, stomach ache and appetite loss (4).

However, the conventional TRADITIONAL INGREDIENTS used for making mayonnaise, such as oil, eggs or acids DO NOT contain gluten. So, it stands to reason that a simple basic mayo should be quite safe for consumption for people following a gluten-free diet.

However, there is also the possibility that the additional ingredients can contain gluten; or the vinegar and the oil used in making of the mayo were extracted from products that have gluten in them.

Other than this, once should also bear in mind the risk of cross-contamination with gluten during the actual process of production of mayo.(5,6)

Given Below Are Some Practices To Follow For Ensuring A Gluten-Free Mayo!

Like mentioned earlier, the basic ingredients used traditionally for mayo are gluten-free naturally; however, it is better to exercise caution, as there is always a chance of cross-contamination or there could be gluten present in the form of added ingredients in mayo.

Shopping for a Gluten-Free Mayo!

Whenever you are looking to buy a Gluten-Free Mayo, always and ALWAYS read the ingredient label. According to the FDA, foods which have one of the following declaration on their packaging will have gluten that is lesser than 20 parts per million and is considered a safe amount for people following a gluten-free diet.(7)

Other than this, if there one of the following claims printed on the mayo jar: “without gluten, ”“free of gluten, ”“no gluten,”“ gluten-free,” then it will be gluten-free.

Most of food manufacturers voluntarily use these labels on their products that are gluten-free; however, they are not legally needed to do so. So, this also means that a few of the gluten-free mayonnaise will not have this printed on their label, if it is gluten-free.

Also important to look in an ingredient list is any form or variation of gluten or wheat.

When Eating Outside

When you are eating in a restaurant, make sure to ask the manager or the server if the mayo they are serving is gluten-free or not.

Make Your Own Gluten Free Mayo At Home!

Making your mayonnaise at home is one of the best ways to ensure that your mayo is gluten-free. The ingredients that you will need for a homemade gluten-free mayonnaise are:

  • 1 cup of mild-flavored oil (safflower, canola, grape seed, avocado).
  • 1 large egg.
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice.
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (red wine, white, apple cider).
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

Spices like celery seed, white or black pepper, mustard seed, Dijon mustard and pinch of sugar (optional).

The Process of Making the Mayonnaise: Blend the egg in a food processor for half a minute. Add the salt and vinegar and blend for another half a minute. Slowly add the oil, a few drops at a time and blend. Adding too much oil soon affects the consistency of your mayonnaise. After this, add lemon juice and other additional spices according to your taste.

Make sure to avoid malt vinegar or rice in your homemade mayonnaise, as it can contains gluten or can be cross-contaminated. It is better to use pasteurized eggs, as the eggs used are raw. This will help prevent food poisoning.

Storing the Homemade Mayonnaise

You need to store your homemade mayo in the refrigerator at 40°F to prevent it from spoiling and it can be safely stored for up to 2 weeks. If you happen to notice any change in the color or a rancid smell from the mayo or mold on the mayo, then please do not use it.

Conclusion

Individuals following a gluten-free diet have to avoid consumption of rye, wheat, barley and food products that have gluten in them.

The basic traditional mayo is made using few ingredients that are naturally gluten-free. However, cross-contamination or added spices can make a mayo not suitable for gluten sensitive people or who are suffering from celiac disease. For this reason, it is important to read the label and the ingredient list of the mayo you are buying from the store. Alternatively, you can also make your own gluten-free mayo at home for safe eating.

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