Is Rice Dream Gluten Free?

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While at the Gluten Free in Fresno Support Group meeting at Whole Foods on Wednesday, January 26, 2011, I heard from a couple of members that they assumed Rice Dream milk is gluten free because it said so on the label. At that time I believed it not to be safe for celiacs, as they use a barley enzyme in their manufacturing process. And though they said it was processed out, anyone with a gluten intolerance may be afraid to risk it. At that time there was no testing done on the product, or at least it wasn’t publicized.

Rice Dream Non-Dairy Beverage

A few years back Rice Dream was not labeled gluten-free, but is now.

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In 2008, Looksgoodinpolkadots.com stated that Rice Dream’s FAQ stated that their non-dairy beverages were not gluten-free, as they were processed with barley, though the barley was removed later in the processing.  Though nothing has changed with the ingredients or process that we know of, the label remains the same, except for the fact that it is now labeled gluten-free.

At the time of this writing, February 2011, when you visited their website’s Non-Dairy Beverages under Products FAQ you’d find that Rice Dream Rice Milk is gluten-free, it states that it is gluten-free.  See their statement below:

“Is RICE DREAM Beverage a gluten free product?

Yes. Although RICE DREAM Beverage is processed using a barley enzyme, the barley enzyme is discarded after use. The final beverage might contain a minute residual amount (less than .002%) of barley protein.”

The gluten-free labeling laws that will go into effect in 2012, which many manufacturers are already following, allowing under 20ppm gluten.  That is 20 parts gluten in 1 million parts of a product, a 20 to 1,000,000 ratio.  Since there are less than 20ppm of barley in Rice Dream they may label it gluten-free.

If you did a search online you would find stories where celiac patients became ill after drinking Rice Dream.  Celiac.com is just one example.  There someone states that they contacted the company to find that their processing has not changed at all. I know better now, sometimes people react to other ingredients or foods they have consumed. You cannot always assume you’ve been glutened.

Rice Dream’s non-dairy desserts that are marked gluten-free include: (pints/quarts): Vanilla, Strawberry, Cocoa Marble Fudge, Orange Vanilla Swirl, Carob Almond, Neapolitan.  However, I would assume they use the same rice milk to make these desserts.

Rice Dream’s non-dairy desserts that are marked gluten-free include: (pints/quarts): Vanilla, Strawberry, Cocoa Marble Fudge, Orange Vanilla Swirl,Carob Almond, Neapolitan.  However, I would assume they use the same rice milk to make these desserts.

UPDATE Sept. 18, 2012: Hain Celestial, manufacturer of Rice Dream products, now has their products certified gluten-free by GFCO (Gluten Free Certification Organization). See their Gluten Free Guarantee on their Rice Dream, Soy Dream, Almond Dream and Chocolate Dream products. This includes their dairy-free milks, ice cream, and dairy-free chocolate, etc.

To learn more about the scientific facts on Hain Celestial gluten testing visit the Gluten Dietitian’s Blog article on Barley Enzymes in Gluten Free Products.

See Rice Dream’s gluten-free list.

To learn more about the labeling laws, visit Gluten-free Labeling Laws – Are you safe?

4 Replies to “Is Rice Dream Gluten Free?”

  1. Thanks for your response.
    I have been off the Rice Dream rice milk for almost two weeks now. I am doing much, much better. I am back to using So Delicious coconut nut milk (original flavor) for my cereal. It is adequate but not especially delicious. It used to have a slight coconut taste, but not anymore. It is just bland.
    I tried several rice milk recipes and not liked them. Maybe yours will work for me. I will give it a try.

    1. Mae,

      You’re very welcome.

      I don’t care to drink the homemade rice milk, as it is a bit thick, however, it’s great for baking. I would thin it out a bit more for cereal, etc. I hope you enjoy it. You can also add vanilla or almond flavoring, if desired.

      Happy holidays to you!
      Carla

  2. Even though Hain CLAIMS their rice beverage product is gluten-free, it is NOT. Since I changed from So Delicious coconut milk to Hain’s Rice Dream rice milk I have had increasingly horrific pain in my upper right flank, low-grade fever, terrible fatigue, and horrible diarrhea for the last six months. My body was acting like I had been glutened. I have spent months trying to figure out what I was eating that had gluten in it. The answer was: nothing. Apparently, I was drinking it.

    Two days ago, I did a Google search for “Rice Dream rice milk gluten” and found many celiac forums and Celiac Disease experts cautioning against this brand of rice milk. Many people have written online in celiac forums about how they react badly to Rice Dream rice milk. When I started using Rice Dream rice milk, I had checked out Hain’s website to make sure that Rice Dream was gluten free before purchasing it. They said it was.

    They lie – and the FDA allows this lie.

    Hain uses a barley enzyme in the beginning process of making the milk. Hain is lying when they say on their site: “Is Rice Dream Beverage a gluten free product? Yes. Although Rice Dream Beverage is processed using a barley enzyme, the barley enzyme is discarded after use. The final beverage might contain a minute residual amount (less than .002%) of barley protein.” They state that they use it and then “throw it out.” But apparently it is still in the rice milk no matter what they say because I have reacted strongly to it. In fact, once the barley enzyme is in the rice milk, how in the world can it be separated out?

    Hain also says that any gluten that might be in their product is below the FDA threshold of 20 ppm. But the problem is that the commercial tests for gluten contamination have some difficulty detecting hordein (the type of gluten protein found in barley) when the hordein has been broken down into smaller pieces or protein fragments.

    It is also possible that there is not enough residual gluten left in the product for testing to detect (at least not with current tests), but there is plenty of gluten in Rice Dream rice milk for our bodies to detect it and be damaged by it, especially in people who tend to be very sensitive to even trace amounts of gluten.

    More and more people do not trust the Rice Dream beverage – and they do indeed react like I have reacted. In fact, I drank the Rice Dream rice milk long enough to do further damage to my duodenum. It could take months and months to get over this glutening episode.

    One would think that Hain would be more concerned about the dangers of gluten (and celiac disease) and not sell products that are made with anything that ever contained gluten. I will never buy Hain’s rice milk again or any of their products for that matter because I cannot trust them. And I will join others in spreading information all over the internet about the gluten dangers in Rice Dream rice milk.

    Please do consider what I have said and do not trust what Hain claims their rice milk to be (gluten-free) because it is not.

    The FDA is as much to blame for my glutening as Hain is. The FDA is too lax in what they allow in gluten-free products. 20 ppm is way too high for many Celiacs like myself. Celiac Disease is serious. A teensy tiny bit will make some of us truly suffer. Printing gluten free on a product that has even a smidge of gluten can be toxic for someone like me.

    I have been off the Rice Dream for 2 days. Already the pain is subsiding and I am feeling a bit better.

    I am so angry at Hain, I could spit nails!

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