Gluten-free tea?


The claim ‘gluten-free’ or ‘gluten-free,’ as noted above, can only be legitimately given in relation to products whose category includes foods that do contain gluten. (1) The case of tea drinks.

Tea beverages, brief market survey

We examined the labels of some tea drinks, bottled and powdered. Noting, with disappointment, how the words ‘gluten-free’ recur on most of them. Although this characteristic is common to all products that belong to the same category.

In detail.

Ferrero, Estathe. ‘Lemon tea drink. Ingredients, tea infusion (water, tea), sugar, dextrose, rehydrated lemon juice powder (0.2%), flavor enhancer (ascorbic acid), flavoring, acidifier (citric acid). ‘Gluten-free,’ and why would that be?

St. Benedict’s, Lemon tea. ‘Non-alcoholic lemon tea drink with sugar and sweeteners’. Ingredients, natural mineral water (80%), sugar, fructose (0.5%), flavoring, acidifier citric acid, tea leaf extract (0.1%), lemon juice (0.1%) from concentrate, antioxidant ascorbic acid, sucralose sweetener. ‘Gluten-free,’ ça va sans dir!

Ristora, ‘Soluble preparation for lemon tea drink’. Ingredients, sugar, tea extract 2% (?), acidulant citric acid, dehydrated lemon juice 1%, flavorings. ‘Gluten-free,’ and when else?

Gluten-free tea?

Beverages consisting of tea infusions, when purely sweetened with sugar or honey or other sweeteners-such as fructose, dextrose or artificial sweeteners (e.g., sucralose)-never contain any cereal containing gluten or substances derived from it.

In fact, tea is a naturally gluten-free plant, as are the various sources of sugars (beet, sugar cane, corn, and fruits from which fructose is obtained) and appropriate sweeteners (corn-derived polyols, and synthetic sweeteners).

Then why, and under what title, do the aforementioned tea drinks carry the words ‘gluten-free.’ Perhaps such beverages are distinguished from others that also do not carry such a label? Of course not. These are just the usual ‘smart guys’ who are profiting from the ‘gluten-free’ fad, relying on the starvation of the regulatory authorities.


Dario Dongo


(1) Otherwise configuring a violation of fair information practices under Reg. EU 1169/11, Article 7.1.c, , which will soon be punished with the albeit modest administrative fine of 3 thousand to 24 thousand euros, ‘unless the act constitutes an offence’. See article on the subject

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.