Frequently Asked Questions about Wheat Starch and the Gluten-Free Diet

Takeaway Points:
  • The gluten content of wheat starch varies depending on how it is processed.
  • Wheat starch used in foods labeled gluten-free must be specially processed  so that the food contains < 20 ppm gluten.
  • There are limitations around testing wheat starch for gluten. Current testing methods are not perfect.
  • Gluten Free Watchdog recommends eating foods containing wheat starch only if they are labeled “gluten-free” and if the manufacturer and/or supplier are testing wheat starch for gluten using both the sandwich and competitive R5 ELISAs.

Thompson T, Celiac Disease Nutrition Guide. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 3rd ed Chicago, IL, 2014.

Thompson, T. Wheat starch, gliadin, and the gluten-free diet. J Am Diet Assoc. 2001;101:1456-1459.

  1. Gluten-Free Watchdog. May 8, 2017 Accessed July 23, 2018.
  2. Proceedings of the 27th Meeting Working Group on Prolamin Analysis and Toxicity. Analytical Research Reports. Katharina Konitzer, Herbert Wieser, Peter Koehler. German Research Centre for Food Chemistry, Leibniz Institute, Freising, Germany. Quantitation of gluten in wheat starch by gel permeation chromatography with fluorescence detection.  Accessed July 25, 2018.
  3. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Federal Register Proposed Rule—72 FR 2759 January 23, 2007. Food Labeling: Gluten Free Labeling of Foods.
     Accessed July 23, 2018. 
  4. R-biopharm. Ridascreen Gliadin Competitive. Art. No. R7021. Accessed July 25, 2018.
  5. Gluten-Free Watchdog. Using wheat starch in gluten-free foods. April 2015. Accessed July 23, 2018.
  6. Codex Alimentarius. International Food Standards. Accessed July 23, 2018


Revision Date: August 2, 2018
Author: Melinda Dennis, MS, RDN, LD
Editors: Amy Keller, MS, RDN, LD and Jocelyn Silvester, MD, PhD
Original Date: 8-29-12
Author: Tricia Thompson, MS, RD
Editors: Melinda Dennis, MS, RD, LDN and Daniel Leffler, MD, MS