Should I Be Concerned about Gluten in Meat?

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  • Written By: Eugene P.
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2019
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There is no gluten present in meats that have been butchered and packaged but not processed in any way. There might be gluten in meat or meat products that have been processed. This includes lunchmeats, sausages, hamburger patties and anything packaged in a sauce. This is because wheat flour and grains are often used as fillers or binders in the packaged products. For many lunchmeats, there also is the potential for cross-contamination with other meat products and equipment that have small amounts of gluten on them.

The proteins that comprise glutens are not naturally present in the meat of animals, because they are primarily plant based. This means there is no gluten in meat that has not been processed. The only exception to this would be meat that has been contaminated by equipment or surfaces that also are used for gluten-containing products, but it is extremely rare that glutens are transmitted in this way.


Some people who have celiac disease worry about eating meat from animals that have been fed grains containing gluten. The idea is that some of the proteins from the gluten might make its way into the muscle tissue of the animal. Scientifically, the glutens are broken down by the body and turned into amino acids that are then used to build muscle, so the gluten does not have any way to enter into the meat. While there is no scientific evidence that gluten appears in the meat of grain-fed animals, some with celiac disease still report feeling ill after eating it.

Any type of meat that has been packaged, aside from simple butchered fillets, needs to be checked for additional ingredients. The gluten-containing elements might not be named anything obvious and include hydrolyzed vegetable protein, vegetable protein, malt and vegetable gum. If a piece of meat appears to have been processed or marinated and there is no listing of the ingredients, then the only two options are to ask the butcher what is in it or avoid the meat entirely.

There also might be gluten in meat that is part of a mixture or that has been ground and frozen. These include products such as pre-made patties, packaged ground meats that are frozen, hot dogs and mixtures that are pre-spiced. All of these have the potential to contain glutens and should be assumed to contain them unless the package is otherwise marked.

Pure meat that has been cut and packaged will not contain glutens as long as there is no cross contamination, though all types of meat that have been somehow prepared or processed need to be viewed suspiciously. People who have intolerance to glutens need to be wary of all meats that are packaged and avoid them if an adequate listing of the ingredients cannot be found. There are few laws regulating the listing of glutens in food, so it is likely better to be overly cautious than to become ill from gluten in meat.


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Post 1

I discovered I was gluten intolerant after becoming extremely ill from following the advice of an endocrinologist to follow a high carb, low fat diet. Unfortunately for the medical profession, I now know more than this doctor (scary, isn't it?).

After discovering that there is gluten in prescription drugs (mostly all the ones I've ever taken) and other substances and eliminating gluten entirely and completely by switching to a paleo type diet with grass fed and grass finished meat, organic fruits, vegetables and salads, and Chinese bone broth soup with added meat and tubers, an amazing thing happened. Every single health problem I had disappeared and my blood work went from the danger zone to the superlatively healthy zone.

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