What To Look Out For When Choosing Gluten-Free Butter Products

Gluten is a protein found in almost every baked good and plays a critical role in giving baking dough its elasticity and that soft, crumbly texture we all love. However, a significant portion of the population suffers from celiac disease (as much as one percent of the United States), in which consuming gluten can lead to serious medical emergencies. 

If you or someone in your family struggles with CD, you might wonder whether butter is safe to include in your diet. The great news is that pure butter — made from churned milk cream — is naturally gluten-free since it doesn't contain any cereal-derived ingredients.

However, some brands of butter offer "butter spreads" or margarine, which may contain additives with gluten. These butter substitutes are quite different from plain butter. They are highly processed and made from various ingredients to mimic natural butter's appearance, taste, smell, and consistency. Among these ingredients may be vegetable oils, which may contain gluten in them. As such, to be on the safe side, always check the product label for gluten-containing ingredients and try to stick to regular, plain butter only.

Can plain butter be contaminated by gluten?

Be vigilant when selecting flavored or specialty butter that may contain gluten-containing additives. Always read the labels carefully, as some products marketed as plain butter might have hidden gluten due to cross-contamination during production.

If you're dealing with plain butter taken straight out of the packaging, the risk of gluten contamination is generally low, but it's not entirely impossible. Cross-contamination can happen easily when you're dining at home with your family. A simple act like using a butter knife to spread butter on toast and then returning it to the butter block could introduce gluten into the butter from the bread. If you or a family member have CD, consider designating a separate butter plate and buttering knife exclusively for their use. This precaution will safeguard against any accidental gluten contamination, allowing everyone to enjoy their meals with peace of mind.

Don't hesitate to ask the waiter or clerk about the butter they use when dining out, as well. Though it may seem inconvenient, considering the serious symptoms of CD, your health and well-being are well worth the extra effort!