I am confused about the potential for gluten in orange juice. When I read the labels for orange juice with extra calcium, I don’t see any ingredients that would cause me to think there was gluten. Is there?
Orange juice is a product that is highly likely to be gluten free, even if it has calcium or vitamins added. But you might start to wonder when you see ingredients other than the juice from oranges. First, plain pure orange juice, which is made strictly from oranges, is always gluten free. Not only that, it’s extremely healthy, providing all the Vitamin C an adult needs daily in an 8-ounce glass. It also has zero fat and provides thiamin, niacin, calcium, magnesium, folate and Vitamin B. And that’s without the addition of anything. But we live in a health-conscious world and right now it’s popular to add a variety of “enhancements” to orange juice. Generally, these are vitamins or minerals and do not contain gluten. Roy Crockett, director of communications for Coca Cola, says all the company’s Minute Maid, Hi-C and Simply Orange products are gluten free. That includes its enhanced Minute Maid juices—Heartwise, with added plant sterols from highly refined oils to lower cholesterol; Multi-Vitamin, with ramped up amounts of vitamins; Active, with glucosamine to protect cartilage and joints; Extra Vitamin C& E, plus Zinc; Home Squeezed with Calcium and Vitamin D; and Original plus Calcium. Tropicana, which is a PepsiCo company, is a little more difficult to figure out. In the past, the company has said that only its plain pure orange juice is gluten free. PepsiCo did not respond to requests for more updated information. You will find some ingredients in the company’s specialty juices that you’d never expect to find in orange juice, including tilapia, sardine and anchovy in the mega 3 fish oil and gelatin in the Healthy Heart with Omega 3 brand. But those ingredients are gluten free. The Orange Juice with Fiber has maltodextrin. Since it does not mention wheat on the label, it cannot be derived from wheat. But even if it was, it would be gluten free because maltodextrin is so highly processed no gluten protein remains. Most of the other Tropicana orange juice flavors contain mostly vitamins and minerals. The Light and Healthy does list natural flavors, which the company previously said it could not guarantee were gluten free. Wheat is not listed on the label, so they would have to be made from barley or rye to cause a problem for those on the gluten-free diet. The bottom line is that orange juice is highly likely to be gluten free. As with any food, always read the label to be sure. Plain, pure orange juice contains only the juice from oranges, so you always know you are safe with it.