But I Heard That It's Not Safe To Eat...

Distilled vinegar
In the United States, almost all distilled vinegar comes from corn, not wheat. In the rare instances where wheat is the original source of the distilled alcohol that gets fermented into vinegar, the distillation process will remove all appreciable amounts of gluten (gliaden, peptide chains). A "mother" is added to the distilled alcohol to begin the process of fermentation, but research and interviews with industry experts (including the provider of vinegar to Heinz) indicate that gluten-containing ingredients are not used in this "mother" -- so distilled vinegar is safe. Please note that most vinegar listed on ingredients list is not distilled vinegar (please see the Vinegar entry below).
Rice
The usual concern about rice is that it has been enriched. According to research done by Ann Whelan and published in her Gluten Free Living newsletter, after talking to a staff dietition at the U.S. Rice Council, an enrichment mixture that consists of a carrier and synthesized vitamins and minerals which are applied to the surface of some white rice grains. Another interview with a manufacturer of the enrichment mixture revealed that the carrier is usually corn starch, sometimes rice starch, and, rarely, calcium carbonate, while the vitamins and minerals added are gluten-free. The reason enriched rice packages discourage you from rinsing your rice, and have you cook it in the minimal amount of water necessary is so that you won't rinse off this surface layer of added vitamins and minerals. 
Vinegar
If  food manufactured in the United States has vinegar listed as an ingredient, where just the word "vinegar" appears between commas (for example, "Ingredients: water, vinegar, tomato paste)" the FDA's Compliance Policy Guide for Vinegar requires that the vinegar must be apple cider vinegar. So if you see just "vinegar" listed as an ingredient (not "malt vinegar" or any other modification), the vinegar is apple cider vinegar.

 

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Copyright 1998 Linda Blanchard All Rights Reserved. Date Added: February 16, 1998. Last Update: January 07, 2009.