When it comes to processed food, it can be very hard to tell what kinds of ingredients have been used to create the final product. While regular cheese is usually pretty straightforward in terms of what it’s made from, “cheese products” are less clear. With that in mind you might want to know: is Velveeta gluten-free?
Velveeta is considered to be completely free from gluten and the ingredients list does not indicate that the product contains any gluten ingredients. While it is not officially certified as “Gluten-Free”, it is considered to be gluten-free by the community.
Read ahead to find out what actually goes into Velveeta cheese and much more about cheese and processed cheese products for someone trying to stay away from gluten.
What Actually Is Velveeta and What’s It Made From?
You might be surprised to hear that Velveeta is not a type of food, but a brand name. Although it has become synonymous with the concept of “American cheese” for many people, Velveeta is actually a specific product made by the well-known Kraft Foods company.
Interestingly, Velveeta was the first cheese product to be given a seal of approval from the American Medical Association in the 1930s, and it has officially been labeled as a “pasteurized prepared cheese product” in the US since 2002.
What that label means is that Velveeta is not considered real cheese. This specific determination is given under guidance from the FDA, and it indicates that the item contains less than 51% cheese, and the rest is made up of various ingredients that increase the shelf life, change the texture, make it cheaper to produce, and make it easier to package and ship.
As for the exact ingredients, Velveeta contains a surprisingly lost list of different things! Inside a block of Original Velveeta, you will find things like Sodium Alginate, Maltodextrin, Canola Oil, Lactic Acid, Whey, Milkfat, and much, much more besides.
No wonder it’s hard to tell which allergens might or might not be present! Conveniently, Kraft does clearly list that Milk is the only safety warning that consumers need to be aware of. This means that, while the packaging does not officially claim the product to be “Gluten-Free”, there is no gluten used in the recipe.
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Can You Trust Kraft Foods Labels?
Gluten can be incredibly dangerous for many people, so it’s perfectly natural to have a certain amount of skepticism when you’re investigating the labels of different food products. Not every company is clear about what their food contains, despite FDA regulations.
Kraft Heinz, however, is a company that the gluten-free and celiac communities have quite a high level of trust in. They don’t just label when their products contain wheat, but they also include other sources of gluten like barley, rye, and oats.
This means that if a Kraft product does not list any ingredients that might contain gluten, then you can be pretty sure that it is gluten-free.
In their official statement, Kraft Heinz says that they list all of their ingredients that contain gluten directly, or in parentheses like “(contains rye)”.
Is Regular Cheese Gluten-Free?
If you want to find an alternative to Velveeta that has a shorter ingredient list, you could always opt for regular cheese.
Most cheeses are naturally gluten-free, and the Celiac Disease Foundation actually lists dairy as a naturally gluten-free food group that is cost-effective and healthy for people with celiac disease.
With that being said, there are some more creative cheeses out there that might have a few more ingredients than just the basic milk, salt, healthy bacteria, and rennet that are generally used.
Always check the label before you try a new cheese, particularly if it states that it is a “cheese product”, “cheese spread”, or “processed cheese”. Breaded cheeses are often a no-go, but even some blue cheese uses mold cultures that are grown from what, malt, or rye.
Are All Processed Cheeses Gluten-Free?
While processed cheeses can be gluten-free, like Velveeta, that’s not necessarily true across the board. Some of the additives used to make the product might contain gluten, particularly things like wheat starch and modified food starch.
The key, as always, is to look at the label if you’re not sure. While some companies are very clear about their allergens, others might hide them behind generic terms like “artificial color” or “artificial flavor”, so it’s worth being a little extra cautious.
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Summary: Is Velveeta Gluten-Free?
So, is Velveeta gluten-free? While the packaging does not officially label the product as being “gluten-free”, Velveeta is not made with any gluten and is widely accepted as being safe to eat for anyone avoiding gluten.
Kraft clearly labels any ingredients that might contain gluten, and Velveeta is free from all of them. The only common allergen present is milk.