Cranberry juice is prized for its plethora of health benefits, from helping treat infections, to fighting age-related damage. But can people with Celiac and non-Celiac gluten sensitivity enjoy these benefits?
Cranberry juice is mainly gluten-free when made with the real juice of cranberries. It becomes not gluten-free if added with ingredients that contain gluten, or if it gets exposed to it during production. Addition of some alcohols will also make it not gluten-free.
What brands are gluten-free and what alcohols can add gluten? Read on to find out!
Is Cranberry Juice Usually Gluten Free?
Fresh cranberries do not have gluten. The only time they contain gluten is when they’ve been exposed to it through cross-contamination, especially during production. However, this is not likely to happen (source: Verywell Fit).
Wheat is the major source of gluten. Other sources of gluten include, barley, rye and other gluten-containing grains, crossbreeds like Khorasan, spelt, and emmer, and the outcome of these grains when processed, for instance, malt (source: Gluten Associated Medical Problems).
By nature, fresh and frozen fruits do not contain gluten. However, processed fruits like dried fruits sold in the market aren’t always gluten-free. In the ingredients list on the packaging, you will see possible gluten-containing food ingredients (source: Celiac Disease Foundation).
It is vital to read through the ingredient list as well as the rest of the packaging for any indication of gluten. When buying cranberry juice, you want to look for gluten, wheat, spelt, graham, licorice, malt, rye, and others on this list. If any of these is present, don’t purchase the juice.
Cranberry juice may or may not have a “gluten-free” label. This is because the FDA doesn’t mandate manufacturers to have this label on their products. But if they want to, they’d have to follow rules and regulations before they can add this label to their juice product.
First, a product, in this case, cranberry juice drink, is considered gluten-free if it has less than 20 ppm of gluten. A food product is also allowed to have the “gluten-free”, “no gluten”, “free of gluten”, or “without gluten” label if:
- It has no ingredient that contains wheat, barley, rye, or a hybrid of any of these grains
- It has no ingredient that comes from any of these grains mentioned that have not undergone gluten removal
- It has a part of any of these grains that have undergone gluten removal but has more than 20 ppm of gluten
Some manufacturers probably see this as a rigorous task and so they don’t go through it. But, if the bottle of cranberry juice drink has a gluten-free label, you can be confident that it can be consumed by people with Celiac disease or non-Celiac sensitivity to gluten.
Whatever the case is, it is still best to read the whole packaging of the product, look for ingredients that may contain gluten, or contact the manufacturer if the product in question contains gluten or not.
If the product is not gluten-free, it must be because it contains an additional ingredient that has gluten, or has been exposed to gluten in production or handling.
Cranberry Juice Brands that are Gluten Free
Here are some popular cranberry juice brands and their gluten status. Note that we will base whether they’re gluten-free or not according to the manufacturer whether the cranberry juice has a gluten-free label or is stated as such on their website.
On their website, they mentioned a product line to not contain gluten, while other cranberry lines do contain gluten. But among these, their cranberry juice (any type) wasn’t mentioned to either contain or not contain gluten.
According to Minute Maid’s website, all their 100% juice products (those that aren’t added with other ingredients) are free from gluten. They recommend contacting them regarding their other products (source: Minute Maid).
Cranapple Juice may not be gluten-free because it has been blended with another juice. Real fruit juice (single ingredient) is generally gluten-free.
To be certain, read the packaging if the product label says gluten-free. If it’s not, check the ingredients list for any possible ingredient that contains gluten, or contact the manufacturer directly.
Simply Cranberry juice didn’t mention the juice being gluten-free on its website or the product’s packaging.
Other Cranberry Juices and their GF Status
Cranberry-based cocktails made with brandy, rum, tequila, vodka, and whiskey are usually gluten-free, as these alcohols undergo distillation. Beer, ale, lagers, and stouts, on the other hand, contain gluten (source: Coeliac UK).
Other non-alcoholic cranberry-based cocktails are also generally-gluten free unless they have gluten ingredients or are exposed to gluten when they are made or mixed.
White cranberry juice doesn’t have much information surrounding its gluten status. Ocean Spray, a brand that offers white cranberry juice, also didn’t mention if their white cranberry juice is gluten-free or not. We recommend contacting them for a more accurate status.
Cranberry is generally gluten-free if it comes from real cranberries but we recommend reaching the manufacturer of a particular brand you want to check out just to be certain.
We hope we’ve answered your queries about gluten-free cranberry juice!