Food Allergen Information

Allergens:  Introduction

According to, an estimated 15 million Americans have food allergies.  Reactions range from mild to life threatening.  A 2013 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that food allergies among children increased about 50% between 1997 and 2011 with 1 in 13 children affected.  Food allergies are on the rise in developed countries worldwide as well.  The only way to avoid foods that cause allergies is to avoid the food.  This may be hard to do even when the foods are unadulterated.  But it is often difficult when those foods are ingredients in other foods.  It is nearly impossible unless complete labeling isn’t required, which it is not in the U.S.  Allergen labeling beyond the 7-10 most common allergens is almost nonexistent.  With the growing understanding of celiac disease, there is now concern about gluten, and with that, a growing concern about yeasts.  There is a growing aversion to MSG, which is being replaced with autolyzed yeast extract, which actually includes MSG as a natural ingredient and, if developed from malt, may also contain gluten. 

The purpose of this section of our website it to provide current information to help people with special food needs identify the foods they need to avoid and those they can safely enjoy.  Sometimes that means our products too.  Our cream soups are made from a base that includes autolyzed yeast extract, which contains a minute amount of natural MSG.  Our source packages identify this base as having no MSG, in keeping with the current FDA labeling requirements.  However, in our allergen statement, we list MSG.  Hopefully some of the information provided in the following sections will help those who want to use these soups determine if it is safe for them to do so.  

Please check the allergen statements for each product.  The ingredients on the website are listed, but in summary form.  If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us by phone or email.  Ingredients are listed in their entirety on the labels.


Food Allergy Research & Resource Program

FARRP was established in 1995 as a cooperative venture between the University of Nebraska and seven founding industry charter members.  Today, FARRP has more than 70 member companies, more than one dozen staff members and several graduate students. 

 The primary mission of the Food Allergy Research & Resource Program is to develop and provide credible information, expert opinions, tools, and services to the food and affiliated industries relating to allergenic and novel foods. However, although provision of information to consumers with allergies and other food sensitivities is not our primary mission, we understand that such consumers are constantly searching for credible information to help guide them in the management of these illnesses. Thus, we have added a section specifically for consumers which is intended to be written at a somewhat less technical level by an eminently well qualified dietitian, Kate Grimshaw. This section provides basic advice for consumers and also provides links to other consumer- or patient-oriented web sites where you can find much more information.

 Some parts of the website are still under development, but this site offers an excellent overview on the types, severity and occurrence of various allergies. The FARRP “Resources” tab is a good place to start if you have questions about food allergens.

What Is Autolyzed Yeast Extract?  Does It Contain Gluten or MSG?

Autolyzed yeast extract is a substance that results when yeast is broken down into its constituent components.  It naturally contains free glutamic acid, or monosodium glutamate, and is often used as a les expensive substitute for MSG.  As a natural component of autolyzed yeast extract, MSG does not have to be listed separately in the ingredients, so look for the yeast extract on the label if you’re sensitive to MSG.


Baker’s or brewer’s yeast goes through a series of steps to break it down and release its contents. The final product is either stored in liquid or paste form or may be spray dried to a powder.


Autolyzed yeast extract is used primarily as a flavor enhancer in a variety of processed foods such as soups, meats and vegetarian “meats.” Some products include yeast extract in addition to other flavor enhancers such as MSG, hydrolyzed protein or substances labeled only as “natural flavor.” Like MSG, it is valued for its ability to stimulate taste receptors that are sensitive to the umami or savory type of taste.


If you follow a gluten-free diet you'll need to avoid autolyzed yeast extract because it's a source of hidden gluten, according to Colorado State University. Another possible concern about consuming autolyzed yeast extract is that it naturally contains monosodium glutamate. Even though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers MSG to be a safe substance, some people are sensitive to it and experience side effects after eating MSG-containing foods. Symptoms of MSG syndrome include headache, flushing, sweating, chest pain and numbness around the mouth. While gluten must be shown on the label, MSG does not have to be listed separately when the only source is autolyzed yeast extract, according to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.

The above information is a summary.  For full content, see

What Is Autolyzed Yeast Extract?  Does It Contain Gluten?

 Autolyzed Yeast Extract from Barley

Published June 25, 2013

Question:  I am a dietitian at a university where we use  soup base that had been considered gluten free.  Over the summer the ingredients changed and now autolyzed yeast extract from barley is being used.  Is it still gluten free?  Is it possible this ingredient might be safe in small amounts?

Answer:  Autolyzed yeast from barley is pretty rare, but I did find one company, Bio Springer, that produces some.  Soup is one place where you might find it, according to Jean-Marc Pernet, head of market development for Bio Springer.  Pernet said the company does not use barley for traditional yeast extract, but in some very specific cases, may use a natural enzymatic blend obtained from barley malt extract.  Pernet noted that only a small amount of the malt extract is used in the process and only minimal traces of gluten remain in the final autolyzed yeast extract.  In fact, traces are so minimal the extract has a gluten-free certificate that shows it contains less than 20 parts per million of gluten—an amount that meets proposed FDA standards for gluten-free labeling.  In addition, the yeast extract is a natural flavoring compound which is used in very small amounts—usually less than 1% of the finished food.  “There is no risk of finding any detectable traces of gluten (from yeast extract) in a soup,” Pernet said.


Gluten-free Status Of Yeast Extract From Barley

In her 2013 update on the gluten-free status of yeast extract, author Tricia Thompson, MS, RD talks about the view of the Canadian Celiac Association based on recently revised Canadian labeling laws.  Their conclusion is that individuals with celiac disease should avoid consuming products containing yeast extract when barley protein is listed as part of the yeast extract.    The U.S. does not include barley protein under the Food Allergen Labeling & Consumer Protection Act, so there is no way to know whether yeast extract ingredients contain barley.  Ms. Thompson concludes, however, that this is not cause for undue alarm.

Ms. Thompson does not allow the article to be reprinted or reposted, but if you would like to read the entire article, it is available at 

Ms. Thompson also writes about various ingredients that should be carefully considered before being used by those with celiac disease.  She provides an easy-to-read webinar presentation conducted with Emily Rubin, RD at


(more coming soon)