Tortilla chips are usually made with corn or wheat flour, and may contain gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, barley and spelt.
For those with celiac disease, gluten intolerance or a wheat allergy, consuming gluten can cause all kinds of issues such as minor headaches and bloating, and range all the way through to intestinal damage.
How can you be sure if your tortilla chips are gluten-free?
Read this guide to find out.
1. Most, (but not all), tortilla chips are gluten-free
100% ground corn is the ingredient used most for making tortilla chips, and it’s naturally gluten-free.
You should watch out though, as some brands contain a mix of corn and wheat flour, making them non-gluten-free.
2. Some tortilla chips don’t contain wheat, but still contain gluten
If your tortilla chips are made with wheat, rye, barley, triticale, or wheat-based grains, they are not gluten-free.
Wheat-based grains include:
Semolina Spelt Durum Wheatberries Emmer Farina Farro Graham Kamut (Khorasan wheat) Einkorn wheat
Multi-grain tortillas may mix gluten and gluten-free grains together, so you must check the ingredient labels if you are unable to tolerate gluten.
Some people with celiac disease, wheat allergy or gluten sensitivity can also be affected by tortilla chips that contain oats.
While oats are gluten free, they are often grown near wheat crops, or processed in facilities that handle wheat, so there is a risk of cross-contamination.
3. How to be sure your tortilla chips are gluten-free
The most important thing is to check the label for gluten or gluten-containing grains.
The best type of tortilla chips for the gluten-intolerant are those made from 100% corn, or another gluten-free grain such as rice, chickpea (gram) flour, sweet potatoes, teff, or quinoa.
Wheat is considered a major food allergen, and manufacturers must list it on products for this reason. However, wheat isn’t the only grain that contains gluten, so “wheat-free” labelled products aren’t always gluten-free.
If you are unsure, you can contact the manufacturer to ask questions about the ingredients and the way the food is processed.
4. Check for third party certifications
To be sure that tortilla chips and other products are gluten-free, check for a third-party seal on the labeling.
This means that the product has been independently tested in a laboratory, and meets the gluten-free requirements. Third-party testing means that the foods are tested by impartial companies that don’t have any financial interest in the company or product being tested.
NSF International’s gluten free certification verifies that products don’t contain more than 20 ppm of gluten, while the Gluten Intolerance Group requires that products carrying their certification don’t contain more than 10 ppm of gluten.
5. Make your own gluten-free tortilla chips
Make your own tortilla chips at home, to be sure they’re gluten-free.
Cut 100% corn tortillas into triangles Drizzle them with a tablespoon of olive oil and mix Spread them out on a baking sheet in a single layer Bake at 350F/160C fan for 5-6 minutes Flip them over, sprinkle with salt, and bake for another 8 minutes until they begin to brown. Remove from the oven to cool.