Can Celiacs Eat Feta Cheese? (Answered!)

  • Feta cheese is generally safe for celiacs as it is gluten-free, but attention should be paid to packaging for any gluten-containing additives
  • Cross-contamination, especially at deli counters, is a risk due to shared utensils
  • Feta cheese, being high in lactose and salt, may pose issues for those lactose intolerant or on a low-sodium diet
  • Pregnant women are advised to ensure feta is pasteurized to avoid listeria risks
  • It’s crucial to consult health professionals regarding dietary choices, especially for those with celiac disease

Is Feta Cheese Gluten-Free?

If you have celiac disease, then naturally, you will need to avoid gluten so as not to damage your small intestine.

This can be a concern, as it is not always immediately obvious if gluten is in your favorite foods. 

However, thankfully, feta cheese is gluten-free and can be safely consumed. 

But, as always, to be on the safe side, there are some things to be aware of.  

First of all, read the packaging carefully, and look for a mention of either modified food starch or wheat starch.

A block of feta is unlikely to contain starch.

But if it is already cubed or crumbled when you purchase it, then the starch could have been added to stop the individual pieces of cheese from sticking together. 

Another possible risk is that of cross-contamination.

If you buy your cheese from a deli counter and it is sliced from a larger block, always ask if the knife is clean and has not been used previously without having been washed.

Does Feta Cheese Have Any Health Risks?

The most obvious thing to note with feta cheese is that it is made from milk.

Therefore, if you are lactose intolerant, then feta cheese is not for you.

As it is an unripened cheese, it has a higher lactose content than most other cheeses.

Feta is also very high in salt, with a sodium level of up to 312g in just a single one-ounce serving.

Not only is salt added during the cheesemaking process, but the feta is also stored in brine with a concentration of up to 7% salt. 

This makes feta cheese unsuitable for anybody on a low-sodium diet.  

However, some of the salt can be removed by washing the feta before serving. 

If pregnant women eat products containing unpasteurized milk, then it can pose a risk of getting listeria which can harm the baby.

Care needs to be taken to establish if the feta cheese is made from unpasteurized milk.  

For those with kidney disease, there is a very small risk from feta cheese.

Feta contains a tiny amount of phosphorus which can weaken bones for those who have compromised kidney function.  

What Food to Eat If You Have Celiac Disease?

My Final Thoughts

Feta cheese is gluten-free and can be safely eaten by those with celiac disease.

However, the packaging should be read carefully to ensure no starch-based ingredients have been added.

Cros-contamination from unclean knives is a possible risk.

Other health hazards to be aware of with feta cheese are the high sodium content and the fact that it is made from milk.

Pregnant women should avoid feta cheese made from unpasteurized milk.

Please enjoy your feta cheese responsibly!

Always consult your health professional if you have any concerns regarding your diet.

And in another health-related question, I have discussed whether feta gives you acne.

How does the clarification on the safety of consuming feta cheese affect your dietary choices?

Let us know in the comments below!


Q1: Is feta cheese gluten-free?
A1: Yes, feta cheese is gluten-free and can be safely consumed by individuals with celiac disease. However, it’s important to read the packaging for potential gluten-containing ingredients, especially in pre-cubed or crumbled feta.

Q2: What should individuals with celiac disease watch out for when buying feta cheese?
A2: Look for any mention of modified food starch or wheat starch on the packaging, particularly if the feta is pre-cubed or crumbled, as starch may be added to prevent sticking. Additionally, ensure cleanliness at deli counters to avoid cross-contamination.

Q3: Are there any health risks associated with feta cheese for individuals with celiac disease?
A3: Beyond gluten concerns, individuals with lactose intolerance or on a low-sodium diet should be cautious when consuming feta due to its high lactose and sodium content. Pregnant women should avoid feta made from unpasteurized milk, and those with kidney disease should be aware of its phosphorus content.

Q4: Can washing feta cheese reduce its sodium content?
A4: Yes, some of the salt can be removed by washing the feta before serving, which can help lower its overall sodium content.

Leave a Comment