Are Rice Cakes Gluten Free?

Posted on Apr 16 2008 - 1:15pm by Christine

Many people assume that rice cakes contain no gluten at all and may be given to babies on a gluten free diet. This, however, isn’t always the case.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye and is sometimes present in oats. Some individuals are intolerant to gluten and this can result in damage to the intestines which – in turn – leads to serious problems in processing the nutrients from other foods. This condition is known as Celiac disease and it is believed that introducing gluten to a baby before 6 months of age may increase his risk of developing it.

You can read more about gluten and wheat here

If your baby is younger than 6 months of age – or if he has been identified as having an intolerance to gluten – then it is important to ensure that his food and snacks are gluten free. Rice cakes seem to be a great alternative snack to many teething biscuits and rusks, because rice itself contains no gluten.

*See update below

However, Quaker rice cakes are NOT gluten free. They may be cross-contaminated with gluten because the rice used to make them may have been grown, stored or processed with other gluten containing grains. Quaker’s website states

We understand that individuals sensitive to gluten cannot digest even trace amounts of gluten. To date, the Food and Drug Administration has not defined the term “gluten free.” Since so many of our products contain grain ingredients and many products are made in the same facility, we cannot guarantee that any particular product is entirely free of gluten.

Update

Since publishing this post, there has been a significant change and Quaker Rice Cakes ARE now labelled gluten free! According to Quaker’s site:

The rice cake recipe hasn’t changed, but all of the gluten-free large Rice Cakes were tested to make sure they meet the proposed federal standard for gluten-free products, which is 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten.

Good news for anyone needing to avoid gluten in their diets, then!

Another company that does declare its rice cakes to be gluten free is Lundberg (friendly link). Lundberg rice cakes are available in the US and Canada, as well as certain parts of Europe.

More details of how to order Lundberg’s rice cakes are provided here (friendly link)

Always check the label on any rice cakes you are buying for your baby. If it does not specifically state that the product is gluten free, then your safest option is to contact the manufacturer directly for further information.

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6 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Angela Ellis August 8, 2008 at 3:34 pm -

    I just called Quaker and the advised me that all flavours of rice cakes as well as mini cakes are GLUTEN free.

  2. Chris February 3, 2012 at 4:22 pm -

    Quaker rice cakes are NOT gluten free. The US FDA describe gluten free as less than 20 parts per million, and I believe that quaker rice cakes have been tested to be generally below this level. If you suffer from Celiac disease, though, you will most likely have an immune reaction to ANY gluten.

    The ingredients in Quaker Rice Cakes share facilities with other wheat products made by Quaker, so there is going to be an uncontrolled amount of cross contamination.

    Really, the FDA need to update their “Gluten Free” definition. If you are not allergic to gluten, then you have no need for Gluten Free labeling. If you are allergic to Gluten, then Gluten Free needs to be 0 ppm, not 20 ppm. Seems common sense to me, but the FDA has long lacked this level of logic.

  3. Chris February 3, 2012 at 4:30 pm -
  4. Natalie May 2, 2012 at 10:52 pm -

    I had Quaker Gluten Free rice cakes today and am now dealing with the after effects of being glutened. They are not truly gluten free. If you are sensitive, stay away.

  5. Brenda Snider July 14, 2016 at 6:30 pm -

    How can they be gluten free if they contain Milk ?

  6. Christine July 19, 2016 at 6:38 am -

    Milk does not contain gluten.

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