This post features a complete list of gluten-free spices by brand, and will help you understand if spices contain gluten. This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosures.
People with celiac disease and gluten sensitivities cannot eat gluten. In many cases, even a crumb of gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and sometimes oats, makes these individuals extremely sick.
This has lead many people in the gluten-free community to wonder if their seemingly innocent-looking jars of spices contain only the spice in question or also “crumbs” of gluten as well.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed the gluten-free community’s worst fears when it put spices to the gluten test in 2010.
The agency tested 268 ground single ingredient spices and found that 63 samples (24 percent) contained “detectable levels” of gluten ranging from 5 ppm to 20,000 ppm.
Mind you, however, the agency goes on to say that 62 of the samples contained a level of gluten that “would not pose a risk to a sensitive individual.”
Regardless, this study is a cautionary tale that even innocent, single-ingredient spices may contain “detectable” levels of gluten, levels which may be set off an inflammatory cascade in someone with celiac disease, or fuel the inflammatory fire in someone with gluten sensitivity.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- What it takes for a spice to be considered – or labeled – gluten free.
- A complete list of spice brands and each brand’s “gluten” claim.
When is a Spice Brand Considered Gluten Free?
For a manufacturer to label a store-bought spice as “gluten free,” it cannot contain any gluten-containing ingredients, and it must contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten per the FDA’s gluten-free labeling guidelines.
For a store-bought spice to be labeled “certified gluten-free,” it must be third-party verified to contain less than 20 ppm of gluten, and some certifying agencies even require stricter protocols, calling for a product to contain less than 10 ppm.
When you look at a spice jar and see only a single ingredient (i.e. basil), but don’t see a “gluten-free” disclosure, you may wonder if the spice is safe to consume.
Which Spices are Gluten Free?
Below is a list of the leading spice manufacturers and each one’s stance on gluten. Always check labels, and inquire directly with individual manufacturers, for the latest information on gluten-free spices.
Are Badia Spices Gluten Free?
Badia spices are labeled “gluten free” (look for the gluten-free circle at the top left side of the front label) and they are a bargain! This whole container of chili powder cost less than $7 at Safeway.
Be sure to shop for Badia spices in the Hispanic food aisle, not the spice/baking aisle.
I tested Badia’s chili powder for hidden gluten with my Nima Sensor, a portable gluten detecting device that enables you to test a portion of your food for hidden gluten, and it came back a-okay. You can learn more about the Nima Sensor in this article, 13 Things to Know About the Nima Sensor, and purchase on on the Nima Partners website.
Verdict: Yes, Badia spices are gluten free.
Are Durkee Spices Gluten Free?
I inquired (via email) about Durkee spices to B&G Foods, Inc., its parent company (and the parent company for Spice Island, and Tone’s products too). B&G said:
“We do not maintain a list of gluten-free spices nor are we currently testing for gluten. However, single ingredient spices (those that contain only spices and do not have any additional ingredients) are inherently gluten free.
“We have a strong allergen clean out policy that has been validated to ensure that there is no allergen cross contamination at the plant. Since ingredients and facilities may change from time to time, always check the label on a specific product for current ingredient and allergen information.”
Are Frontier Co-Op Spices Gluten Free?
The company says that while its spices are naturally gluten free, the company does not test for gluten in all products.
“We don’t make gluten-free claims for any other products because even tiny amounts of gluten can be a problem, and these may be present in our facility or the facilities of our suppliers.”
Are Great Value (Walmart) Spices Gluten Free?
Walmart has increasingly elevated its gluten-free offerings over the years, and even its store brand, Great Value, offers many GF-labeled products.
I was unable to find out which Great Value spices, specifically, are gluten free, however, if the product is labeled “gluten free,” Walmart says the product has been validated.
Verdict: Maybe, and only if labeled
Are McCormick Spices Gluten Free?
McCormick says its products that contain gluten will always be declared on the product label by the common name of the gluten source such as barley, wheat, rye, oats or triticale.
The company adds that if any product has a gluten-free claim on the label, the product and the manufacturing line has been “validated” gluten free.
McCormick recommends customers read the ingredient statement on each individual product to ensure the most accurate, up-to-date information as product formulas may change.
McCormick adds, “Our McCormick facilities have allergen, sanitation, and hygiene programs in place. Our employees follow good manufacturing practices and are trained in the importance of correct labeling and the necessity of performing thorough equipment clean-up and change over procedures to minimize cross-contact of ingredients.”
Verdict: Yes, but look for the gluten-free claim on individual spices.
Are Morton & Bassett Spices Gluten Free?
Are Pioneer Spices Gluten Free?
Are Simply Organic Spices Gluten Free?
Simply Organic spices are manufactured by Frontier Co-Op, and some – not all – of the spices are certified gluten free by the GFCO.
As mentioned prior, Frontier Co-Op spices, while naturally gluten free, are not tested nor guaranteed to be gluten free. See “Frontier Co-Op” for additional information.
Verdict: Yes, if labeled gluten free
Are Spice Island Spices Gluten Free?
See statement under “Durkee”.
Are Spicely Organics Spices Gluten Free?
Spicely says all of its spices are produced in a dedicated, gluten-free facility and are certified gluten free by the Gluten Intolerance Group.
Spicely spices do not contain gluten, nor come in contact with any ingredients that do.
This is the only full-line of certified gluten-free spices I’m aware of, and you can purchase them in some grocery stores and on Amazon.
Are Spice Hunter Spices Gluten Free?
The Spice Hunter says on its website, “Our spices and spice blends do not contain gluten. Our Organic Dip & Seasoning Mixes, Turkey Brines, and Global Fusion Rubs are certified gluten-free by the Gluten Intolerance Group.”
The Spice Hunter also lists the following spices on its website as certified gluten free:
Verdict: Yes, if labeled gluten free
Are Tone’s Spices Gluten Free?
See statement under “Durkee”.
Are Trader Joe’s Spices Gluten Free?
Trader Joe’s says if any of its products claim to be “gluten free,” that the product has been validated to contain less than 20 ppm of gluten.
When I inspected the spice labels at Trader Joe’s, I did not see any gluten listed. As a result, I decided to test four random spices with my Nima Sensor for hidden gluten.
To accurately test each spice, I added a few drops of water to the test capsule to dilute the spices as instructed by the Nima Sensor user manual. Here is what I found:
Please note I tested the cumin twice, just to make sure it indeed contained gluten, which it does based on both tests. However, many people in the Nima Sensor community say they believe there is something in cumin that triggers a gluten found message, as this is not unique to Trader Joe’s spices.
Verdict: Yes (except maybe cumin, but that’s up for debate based on how Nima responds poorly to cumin)
I also tested more than a dozen Trader Joe’s products for hidden gluten. Please find that list in this article, Testing Trader Joe’s Gluten-Free Products for Hidden Gluten.
Additional Spice Tests
Awhile ago, I wrote an article about spices I tested for hidden gluten for the Nima Sensor blog, but since then, the Nima Sensor went out of business and website is not currently being updated or managed. The Nima Sensor has been revived by a company called Nima Partners, which launched a completely new website.
In the article, however, I tested several spice brands for hidden gluten and I want to share them with you too.
I only found gluten in only ONE of the 18 spices tested. I repeated the test on the “Gluten Found” spice a second time, just to be certain. Again, Nima found gluten.
Here is a list of the spices tested:
|SPICE BRAND||SPICE TESTED||RESULT|
|Archer Farms (Target brand)||Turmeric||No gluten found|
|Edward & Sons||Not Beef bouillon cubes||No gluten found|
|Frontier Co-op||Cumin seeds||No gluten found|
|Kirkland (Costco brand)||Chopped onion||No gluten found|
|Lawry’s||Seasoning salt||No gluten found|
|McCormick’s||Cayenne Pepper||No gluten found|
|Mrs. Dash||Original blend (salt-free)||No gluten found|
|Tajin||Classic seasoning||Gluten found|
|Old El Paso||Taco Seasoning Mix||No gluten found|
|Trader Joe’s||Everything Bagel||No gluten found|
|Private Selection (Kroger brand)||Paprika||No gluten found|
|Simply Organic||Ginger||No gluten found|
|Spice Islands||Curry powder||No gluten found|
|Spicely (certified gluten-free)||Herbs de Provence||No gluten found|
|Sprouts||Lemon Pepper||No gluten found|
|Weber||Chicago Steak seasoning||No gluten found|
|Whole Pantry (Whole Foods brand)||Cardamom||No gluten found|
|Wildtree||Chipotle Lime Rub||No gluten found|
As you can see, Tajin is the only spice to test positive for hidden gluten.
Tajin contains chili peppers, sea salt, dehydrated lime juice, and silicon dioxide (to prevent caking). As you can see, there are no red flags that scream this product contains gluten.
Many spices contain silicon dioxide (as do many shredded cheeses) because it’s an anti-caking agent, deterring the spices from clumping together. The food additive, however, is a mineral and is not made or derived from gluten as far as I can tell.
I checked the Tajin FAQ to see if it listed anything about gluten. The company says Tajin does not contain any of the top eight allergens, including wheat, and that the product does not contain gluten. The FAQ goes on to say that Tajin meets FDA regulations for “gluten-free” products.
This may mean that Tajin contains less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten, and therefore is legally considered “gluten-free.” However, I have a zero tolerance for gluten, and the Nima Sensor clearly showed me (twice) that Tajin contains some traces of hidden gluten.
I know many of you have wondered if your spices are gluten free. It’s definitely hard to know what brands you can trust these days.
However, the gluten-free community can take solace in the following:
- There are many gluten-free labeled spices, and many are even certified gluten-free like those from Spicely. When you cook at home, you know you can at least cook with safe spices. A lot of Badia spices are labeled gluten free and are very affordable to boot!
- The vast majority of spices on the market do not contain gluten, and if they do, they typically contain only a trace amount. A trace amount of gluten inside a large meal may mean you’re consuming less than 20 ppm of gluten in one sitting.
- Allergen and gluten-free labeling is becoming commonplace, especially with big brands. Always read labels, contact the manufacturer when uncertain, and use fresh spices whenever possible.
I hope this article helps to ease your mind about using gluten-free spices, and you have a better understanding of which are – and aren’t – safe.
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