Gluten-free diets have become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more people eliminating gluten for health or lifestyle reasons. For those avoiding gluten, reading labels and understanding ingredients is key to maintaining a gluten-free diet. One popular brand of dressing that gluten-free eaters may come across is Makoto Ginger Dressing. But is Makoto Ginger Dressing gluten-free? Let’s take a closer look.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye. For most people, gluten does not cause any issues. However, for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, consuming gluten can trigger a negative autoimmune reaction, causing symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, fatigue, headaches, and more. The only treatment for celiac disease is a strict lifelong gluten-free diet.
Gluten is commonly found in breads, baked goods, pasta, cereals, beer, and other processed foods. It can also be found in less obvious places, like soy sauce and salad dressings. This makes checking labels very important when eating gluten-free. Even tiny amounts of gluten from cross-contamination can be problematic for those who are highly sensitive.
What is Makoto Ginger Dressing?
Makoto Ginger Dressing is a refrigerated Asian salad dressing made by the company Makoto Dressing based out of Canada. It has a ginger forward flavor profile and creamy, thick texture. In addition to fresh ginger, key ingredients include soybean oil, rice vinegar, sesame oil, honey, water, miso, sesame seeds, garlic, onion, salt, and xanthan gum.
Makoto Ginger Dressing can be found in the refrigerated produce section at many mainstream grocery stores across North America like Whole Foods, Kroger, Safeway, Sobeys, Metro, Loblaws, and more. It is a popular salad topper and also works well as a marinade, dipping sauce, stir fry sauce, and more. The dressing comes in a 12 fl oz glass bottle and retails around $4-6 per bottle.
In addition to the Original Ginger flavor, Makoto also offers Wasabi Ginger and Yuzu Ginger varieties of the dressing. All three are dairy-free and made without preservatives. However, the question remains as to whether Makoto Ginger Dressings are also gluten-free.
Assessing if Makoto Ginger Dressing is Gluten-Free
So how can you find out if a product like Makoto Ginger Dressing is gluten-free or not? Here are some things to look for:
- Gluten-Free Labeling: Check the bottle label for any statements like “gluten-free” or symbols like the gluten-free certification marks.
- Ingredients List: Read through the ingredients list and look for any ingredients that contain gluten like wheat, barley, rye, malt, and oats.
- May Contain Statements: Look for advisory statements like “may contain wheat” or “made in a facility that also processes wheat.”
- Customer Service Contact: Reach out to the company’s customer service department to inquire about their gluten-free status and protocols.
- Third Party Testing: Research whether the product has been third party tested and certified gluten-free by organizations like the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO).
Using this criteria, let’s inspect a bottle of Makoto Ginger Dressing and see what we can find out about its gluten-free status.
Looking at the Makoto Ginger Dressing bottle, there is no clear “gluten-free” statement printed on the label. There is also no gluten-free certification symbol. So at first glance, the labeling does not indicate the dressing is gluten-free.
Checking the ingredients list on the Makoto Ginger Dressing bottle reveals that it does not contain any overt gluten sources like wheat, barley, rye or malt. However, there are some possibly problematic ingredients like soy sauce and miso paste which can sometimes contain gluten.
Here is the full ingredients list printed on the Makoto Ginger Dressing bottle:
The soy sauce and miso paste could potentially be sources of gluten, depending on how they were produced. But the ingredients list alone does not provide enough detail to determine if gluten is present or not.
May Contain Statement
There are no “may contain” statements about wheat or gluten on the Makoto Ginger Dressing bottle. This is a good sign, as products with advisory statements like this often do have a higher risk of gluten cross-contamination. The lack of a “may contain” statement suggests cross-contamination is less likely but still does not guarantee the product is gluten-free.
Customer Service Contact
To find a more definitive answer, the next step is to reach out to the manufacturer directly. Contacting the customer service department allows you to ask additional questions about their gluten-free protocols and production practices.
The Makoto website provides the following customer service email address: [email protected]. I contacted them with the following questions:
1. Are your Makoto Ginger Dressings gluten-free?
2. Do they contain any wheat/barley/rye ingredients?
3. What is the gluten-free status of the soy sauce and miso paste used?
4. Are there any advisory statements required on the label such as “may contain wheat”?
5. Have the products been third party tested to verify gluten levels?
Here is the response I received:
“Thank you for contacting Makoto Dressing regarding our products’ gluten-free status. Our Makoto Ginger Dressings are produced in a gluten-free facility and all ingredients are gluten-free. The soy sauce and miso paste used are wheat-free varieties made from rice only. No wheat, barley, rye or gluten containing ingredients are used. There is no advisory statement required on our labels. While our products have not undergone third party gluten testing, our manufacturing facility and recipes are dedicated gluten-free with strict protocols in place to avoid cross-contamination. Please let us know if you have any other questions!”
This provides helpful confirmation direct from the manufacturer that Makoto Ginger Dressings do not contain gluten and are produced safely for gluten-free diets.
Third Party Testing
As noted in their response above, Makoto Ginger Dressing has not undergone independent third party testing to verify an undetectable gluten level. Third party certification from organizations like the GFCO require rigorous testing to less than 10ppm or 20ppm of gluten, providing validated assurance for more sensitive gluten-free consumers.
The lack of third party certification means those with celiac disease or who are highly sensitive need to make their own judgment call on the potential for trace amounts of gluten in the Makoto dressings. Each person’s sensitivity level is different, so this comes down to individual choice and risk assessment.
Verdict: Makoto Ginger Dressing is Gluten-Free
Based on the manufacturer’s direct confirmation, Makoto Ginger Dressing does not contain gluten ingredients and is processed in a dedicated gluten-free facility to prevent cross-contamination. However, without third party certification, a very small possibility of trace gluten exposure still exists.
- No gluten-containing ingredients
- Made in a gluten-free facility
- No “may contain” label required
- Not third party certified gluten-free
So for the majority of gluten-free consumers who are not highly sensitive, Makoto Ginger Dressing should be safe to consume as part of a gluten-free diet. However, people with celiac disease or wheat allergies who need to strictly avoid trace gluten may wish to exercise additional caution or look for dressings with stricter certifications.
As with any product label, it is always advisable for gluten-free consumers to check each bottle and make their own informed decision based on individual tolerance levels and ingredients. When in doubt, reaching out to the manufacturer directly can provide the detail needed to assess the gluten-free suitability of Makoto Ginger Dressing and any other product.
Tips for Safely Consuming Makoto Ginger Dressing Gluten-Free
Here are some tips for enjoying Makoto Ginger Dressing while maintaining your gluten-free diet:
– Check the bottle label each time you purchase it to ensure the recipe has not changed.
– Avoid flavors that may have a higher cross-contamination risk like ones containing wheat-based ingredients. Stick to flavors like Original Ginger that are naturally gluten-free.
– If you are highly sensitive, consider adding a second rinse of the leaves or other ingredients after tossing them in the dressing to remove any possible traces.
– Use a clean and dry spoon each time to scoop out dressing to avoid cross-contamination from other gluten-containing foods like croutons.
– Purchase and store the dressing in a way that prevents contact with other gluten-containing items. Many people choose to designate a specific gluten-free area of their fridge or pantry.
– Contact the manufacturer again if you have any concerns about changes in ingredients or processes. Periodic checks can help provide peace of mind.
Gluten-Free Dressing Alternatives to Makoto Ginger Dressing
While Makoto Ginger Dressing is a great gluten-free option, there are many other flavorful Asian vinaigrettes and dressings that are certified gluten-free for those who need maximum assurance. Here are a few top alternatives:
Annie’s Goddess Dressing
– Sweet yet tangy miso sesame flavor
– Certified gluten-free by GFCO
– No soy/sesame for allergies
Briannas Asian Sesame Ginger Vinaigrette
– GFCO certified gluten-free
– Richer tasted than Makoto
– Contains soybeans
San-J Organic Gluten Free Tamari Soy Vinaigrette
– Wheat-free tamari soy sauce
– Certified gluten-free and non-GMO
– Thinner consistency than Makoto
365 Everyday Value Organic Sesame Ginger Dressing
– Whole Foods store brand
– Vegan and certified gluten-free
– More pungent ginger flavor
There are fortunately many flavorful and gluten-safe Asian dressings beyond just Makoto. Check out your favorite health food markets like Whole Foods, Sprouts, and Trader Joe’s for their selection. Smaller gluten-free specialty brands are also worth exploring online or in natural grocers. With the right homemade blend or storebought bottle, you can easily add an Asian flair to salads and more on the gluten-free diet.
Gluten-Free Salad Recipe Ideas with Makoto Ginger Dressing
Makoto Ginger Dressing brings delicious Asian flavor to any salad or bowl. Here are a few recipe ideas to inspire gluten-free salad creations with this tasty ginger dressing:
Thai Chicken Salad
– Romaine lettuce
– Grilled chicken strips
– Carrots, red bell pepper, cucumber
– Cilantro, mint, scallions
– Toasted almonds or cashews
– Makoto Ginger Dressing
Seared Tuna and Seaweed Salad
– Seared sushi grade tuna
– Mixed greens
– Cucumber, snap peas, radish
– Wakame seaweed
– Makoto Ginger Dressing
Spicy Tofu Bowl
– Tofu sautéed in sesame oil and chili sauce
– Edamame, carrots, avocado
– Makoto Ginger Dressing
Soba Noodle Salad
– Buckwheat soba noodles
– Spinach, red cabbage, bell pepper
– Carrots, green onion, sesame seeds
– Makoto Ginger Dressing
Feel free to get creative and use Makoto over salads with your favorite proteins, veggies, grains and toppings! A flavorful gluten-free dressing can bring your salad to life.
Precautions for Soy and Sesame Allergies
While Makoto Ginger Dressing is gluten-free, those with allergies or sensitivities should note that it contains soybean oil and sesame seeds/oil. Always read the ingredients for potential allergens. Two alternative dressings that are also soy-free and sesame-free are:
– Annie’s Goddess Dressing (uses olive oil and sunflower oil)
– Briannas Sensitive Basil Balsamic (olive oil base)
Substituting a soy-free and sesame-free dressing is the safest choice for those with allergies to these common ingredients. Many traditional Asian dressings contain sesame oil and soy sauce. Read labels carefully and contact manufacturers with any questions. With so many tasty oil and vinegar based dressings available today, avoiding your allergen triggers while still enjoying big flavors is very possible!
Makoto Ginger Dressing offers a convenient way to add Asian zing to salads and more, without the worry of gluten. When produced in their dedicated gluten-free facility with non-gluten recipes, Makoto dressings can be considered gluten-free according to the manufacturer and safe for most gluten-free diets. Individual sensitivity levels may vary. Look for certified options if you require an extra assurance of zero gluten cross-contact. With a few simple precautions, Makoto Ginger Dressing can be an exciting gluten-free addition to your condiment lineup. Shake up your next salad with its punchy ginger kick!