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Are maltodextrin and dextrin gluten-free?

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Updated June 05, 2014

Question: Are maltodextrin and dextrin gluten-free?
Answer: Maltodextrin, a common food additive, is a type of sugar that’s made by breaking down starch. (Despite its name, maltodextrin does not contain malt.) Whether maltodextrin is gluten-free depends on what kind of starch it came from. In the United States, maltodextrin is usually made from rice, corn, or potato. In Europe, maltodextrin is frequently made from wheat.

Dextrin, a common additive that’s made by heating starch, can come from corn, potato, arrowroot, wheat, rice or tapioca.

If either of these additives is an ingredient and you are not sure the product is gluten-free, the safest thing to do is call the manufacturer and ask them to tell you the source of the maltodextrin or dextrin.

Sources:

The Sugar Association, Inc. Accessed: February 15, 2009. http://www.sugar.org/consumers/sweet_by_nature.asp?id=277

GrokFood Online Food Additives Database: U.S. Code of Federal Regulations. Accessed: February 15, 2009. For maltodextrin: http://www.grokfood.com/regulations/184.1444.htm. For dextrin: http://www.grokfood.com/regulations/184.1277.htm

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