One of my Celiac Crash Course students asked me if Better Than Bouillon was gluten-free. They were distressed that they’ve been using Better Than Bouillon for so long and now there might be a risk that it’s not safe.
So let’s break it down: is Better Than Bouillon Gluten-free?
Is Better Than Bouillon gluten-free? The Better Than Bouillon Website as of writing this states that “No, Better Than Bouillon is made in a facility where wheat ingredients are housed. We do not test our Better Than Bouillon products or ingredients contained therein for gluten, so we cannot certify that any ingredient is gluten free.”.
Here’s the thing about made in the same facility claims, it’s what’s known as an allergy advisory statement. I discuss these kinds of statements more in-depth in the Celiac Crash Course but basically, these statements literally mean nothing.
Facilities can be the size of football fields, multiple stories high, and having wheat be present in the same facility doesn’t mean much. Nor does it automatically mean the food is unsafe, as gluten-free watch dog has verified in this study.
I wasn’t and am not worried about the bouillon being made in the same facility. What I was worried about was that Better Than Bouillon does contain risky ingredients in the USA (if you’re not sure what a risky ingredient is, I cover this in the Celiac Crash Course).
The two risky ingredients I identified were flavoring and yeast extract, both of which could be derived from gluten in the USA. Interestingly, in their gluten-free statement, Better Than Bouillon did not mention if their products contained gluten containing ingredients or not.
So I called them…
I called Better Than Bouillon to find out if Better Than Bouillon products were gluten-free or not. They said their “products do not have gluten-containing ingredients but there is wheat in the same facility”.
Again, the same facility doesn’t mean much, and it’s not the same as a “same equipment” claim. So their products are gluten-free with a minimal chance of cross-contact.
Based on my conversation with the representative and their statement on their website, it sounds like they aren’t saying they are gluten-free because they aren’t testing to verify it. If you weren’t familiar, in order to use a gluten-free claim for foods in the USA, they must be tested to 20ppm of gluten. This would explain why they aren’t using the claim.
So what’s the verdict: I would say Better Than Bouillon is gluten-free and would be generally celiac-safe. In most cases, your food is being processed in the same facility as wheat, at best your food is being bought in the same facility used to process wheat (hello grocery stores with bakeries).
Ultimately, it’s up to you, your comfort level and how you react.