You might find cultured dextrose listed on the label of food products you want to try or are already consuming. But if you have allergies, sensitivities, or diet restrictions, it’s essential to know what exactly this ingredient is, why it’s used, and how it might affect you.

So, what exactly is cultured dextrose?

Cultured Dextrose is a natural shelf life extender produced via a unique controlled fermentation of dextrose (sugar) with Propionibacterium freudenreichii bacteria. Propionibacteria has a long history of safe use in food. After a natural fermentation the product undergoes pasteurization, evaporating and spray drying. The finished product is a powder that consists of metabolites like propionic and acetic acid as well as peptides which together make an excellent alternative to synthetically produced preservatives.

How is cultured dextrose used?

Although cultured dextrose has a wide variety of applications, it is most popular among manufacturers of clean-label food products. Cultured dextrose can be found in baked goods like sliced bread, tortillas, dips, spreads, condiments, salad dressing, meat products and even pet food.

Is cultured dextrose safe to eat?

As early as 2003, substantial scientific evidence had already been filed with the US Food & Drug Administration regarding the efficacy and safety of dextrose cultured with Propionibacterium freudenreichii. The US FDA has accepted the evidence and has required no further studies on the matter.

The food industry has used cultured dextrose as an additive for decades. No health concerns have been reported regarding its use and consumption and it is commonly regarded as a safer alternative to benzoates and sorbates.

Is cultured dextrose vegan?

Cultured dextrose is vegan assuming it’s consistent with commonly recognized vegan standards. The ingredient or its sub ingredients, including inputs used to produce them, should not be derived from an animal source (dairy, meat, eggs, bee products, wool, skin, egg shells, insect dyes) and the product should not undergo any animal testing.

The bacteria used in cultured dextrose fermentation (Propionibacterium freudenreichii) could have originally been isolated from dairy or soil. However, since the original strain was isolated, most manufacturers have propagated the bacteria tens of thousands of times without the use of any animal or dairy nutrients.

If you’re following a vegan diet or are sensitive to dairy, it’s essential to check the source of cultured dextrose. Ensure that the dextrose and the bacteria used to ferment it does not include any dairy. You can further check for a Kosher Pareve certification, which ensures that the product contains no dairy per kosher standards. A product labeled as Vegan should be sufficient.

Is cultured dextrose gluten-free?

Cultured dextrose is typically gluten-free, but it’s essential to note that it’s not always the case. Dextrose is commonly derived from corn, which is gluten-free. However, dextrose can also be derived from non-gluten-free sources like wheat. Furthermore, some manufacturers may standardize or dilute their fermentation product with flour or other gluten containing diluents.

If you suffer from Celiac Disease or are sensitive to gluten in any way, it’s essential to check the source of cultured dextrose. Products with a gluten-free label should be safe for you to consume.

For extra assurance, you can request that the cultured dextrose be tested to remain beneath the FDA limit of 20 ppm gluten.