One of the most frequent things parents say about the gluten-free, casein-free diet is how difficult it is to implement. Everything on the store shelves becomes suspect until a flurry of internet research confirms which items are GFCF-friendly. This is a process that we at GFCF Lunchbox understand very well. It is our mission to share what we’ve learned and, hopefully, make the road easier for others.
One of the best tricks to the GFCF diet is learning how to read packaging labels. While nothing makes us happier than seeing the words “gluten-free” and “casein-free” in large type on the front of a food package, finding out allergen information is not always that easy. What about store brands and other packaged items? Well, there’s a trick for those too. We’ve included a few trusted symbols that make figuring out if an item is gluten-free or casein-free a cinch.
Finding out if an item is gluten-free has become pretty simple now that most food companies proudly boast their gluten-free offerings. For extra assurance, the Certified Gluten-Free symbol is considered the gold standard.
Determining if a product contains casein is a bit trickier than gluten. If an item doesn’t explicitly say “casein-free” on it, the next thing to look for is a symbol for kosher parve (sometimes spelled “pareve”). Parve means that a product contains no dairy or meat, no dairy or meat derivatives, and the product was not made on equipment that was used for making dairy or meat products.
Tip: Parve symbols should only be used to determine if a product contains casein, so be sure to check that it is gluten-free also.
Trick: If in doubt about the gluten-free or casein-free status of a product, always contact the product manufacturer. Many supermarkets will also supply a list of allergen information for their store brand items.