I am a dietitian at a university where we use a soup base that had been considered gluten free. Over the summer the ingredients changed and now autolyzed yeast extract from barley is being used. Is it still gluten free? Is it possible this ingredient might be safe in small amounts?
Autolyzed yeast from barley is pretty rare, but I did find one company, Bio Springer, that produces some. Soup is one place where you might find it, according to Jean- Marc Pernet, head of market development for Bio Springer. Pernet said the company does not use barley for traditional yeast extract but, in some very specific cases, may use a natural enzymatic blend obtained from barley malt extract. Pernet noted that only a small amount of the malt extract is used in the process and only minimal traces of gluten remain in the final autolyzed yeast extract. In fact, the traces are so minimal the extract has a gluten- free certificate that shows it contains less than 20 parts per million of gluten— an amount that meets proposed FDA standards for gluten-free labeling. In addition, the yeast extract is a natural flavoring compound which is used in very small amounts— usually less than one percent of the finished food. “There is no risk of finding any detectable traces of gluten (from yeast extract) in a soup,” Pernet said.