Fruit juice — which obviously is made from fruit, not grains — should be gluten-free, and with few exceptions, products made from 100% fruit juice should be safe for those of us following the gluten-free diet to enjoy.
However, it gets trickier when you start to consider "juice drinks," which usually contain only a small percentage of actual fruit. These products are more processed (which increases the risks for gluten cross-contamination), and may even include gluten-containing ingredients such as barley, sometimes used as a sweetener.
Therefore, even though most fruit drinks are safe, you do need to be careful when choosing a fruit juice-based beverage. Here's the list of commonly available juice products in the United States, and whether they're considered gluten-free or not:
- Capri Sun. These juices and juice concentrates, mainly aimed at kids, come from a Kraft subsidiary, and Kraft has a stated policy of always calling out any gluten sources on its labels. Therefore, check the label of any Capri Sun product you're considering purchasing to determine if it contains gluten ingredients or not (remember, however, that cross-contamination in the factory due to shared facilities or equipment still can be an issue).
- Country Time Lemonade. Country Time is another Kraft subsidiary, so check the label of Country Time products to see if gluten ingredients were used.
- Dole. Dole makes numerous canned and chilled juices, plus frozen juice concentrates. According to the company, none of its juices contains gluten.
- FUZE. These fruit drinks with vitamins are made by the Coca-Cola Co., which considers them all gluten-free to less than 20 parts per million (ppm).
- IZZE. IZZE makes sparking juice, fortified juice and sparkling soda. According to the company, "every flavor of IZZE is absolutely free of gluten."
- Kool Aid. Kool Aid is yet another Kraft subsidiary, so check the labels of these rainbow-colored drinks and drink mixes to see if gluten ingredients were used to make them.
- Lakewood Juices. These organic and premium 100% fruit juices are produced and bottled in a gluten-free facility, according to the company. They're also casein-free and free of genetically modified organisms.
- Minute Maid. Minute Maid, which includes various 100% fruit juices plus several lemonades and juice drinks, is made by the Coca-Cola Co. According to Coke's gluten-free list, all 100% juice products are gluten-free. Minute Maid Lemonade, Light Lemonade, Multi-Vitamin Orange Juice, Pomegranate Blueberry, Pomegranate Lemonade, Pomegranate Flavored Tea, and Juice Bars in orange, cherry and grape flavors all are considered gluten-free to less than 20 ppm in the U.S.. In Canada, only Minute Maid Light Lemonade is considered gluten-free.
- Ocean Spray. Ocean Spray, which makes a reliably gluten-free cranberry sauce, also makes a wide variety of cranberry-flavored and other fruit-flavored beverages. According to Ocean Spray's frequently asked questions, Ocean Spray has queried its ingredient suppliers and determined that its beverages and sauces are free from gluten. However, the statement adds, "if you have a particularly acute sensitivity to gluten in foods, we suggest you consult your physician for his or her recommendation."
- Simply Orange. Pure juices from Simply Orange (another Coca-Cola subsidiary) are considered gluten-free in the U.S., as are the flavors Simply Orange Juice Medium Pulp with Calcium, Simply Orange with Mango, Simply Orange with Pineapple, Simply Apple, Simply Grapefruit, Simply Lemonade, Simply Limeade, and Simply Lemonade with Raspberry. In Canada, only 100% fruit juices, plus Simply Lemonade and Simply Limeade are considered gluten-free.
- Sunkist. Sunkist makes carbonated beverages that some would consider sodas, while others would consider fruit punches. There are 10 flavors, including Fruit Punch, Sparking Limeade and Sparkling Lemonade, along with Sunkist's original Orange soda. All are gluten-free to 20ppm, according to the company.
- Tropicana. Tropicana told me in an email that all its products, "including Trop 50, are naturally gluten-free."
- V8. Known for its trademark tomato-based vegetable juice, V8 actually makes numerous different juices, including pure fruit juices and blends. The company states that none of its products contain gluten.
- Welch's juices. This grape-centric company makes 100% fruit juices, fruit fizz, sparkling beverages and juice cocktail blends. According to Welch's gluten statement, the only Welch products that contain gluten (in the form of wheat) are Welch's Filled Licorice.
Remember, this list applies only to products purchased in the U.S. — companies can (and frequently do) use different formulas and different facilities to produce products in other countries. When in doubt about a particular product's gluten status, contact the manufacturer directly.