New research shows current method to detect amount of gluten is inaccurate.
Just to be clear, you should not fear ALL gluten-free beer.
But I do hear that perhaps you should steer clear or not get near some gluten-free beer.
Ok…I’ll stop rhyming now……dear.
Boom! Seriously…I’ll stop now.
So like everything else in the gluten-free world, nothing is ever easy.
If something is sugar free, you can assume it has no sugar in it.
If something is dairy free, you can assume it has no dairy it it.
If something is sarcasm free, you can assume I didn’t write it.
But when something is gluten-free, that’s where it gets a little fuzzy.
Here’s the deal. There are two types of gluten-free beer.
The first type is normally made from Sorghum. These are completely gluten-free and are safe for celiacs to drink.
The second type is made with malted wheat or barley…aka gluten. But after the brewing process, the barley is extracted, getting the gluten level below the standard 20ppm, determined safe for celiacs (which will be the topic of an upcoming post…what part of gluten-FREE don’t they understand?)
But here is the problem. It’s just been announced that the method that has been used to determine the amount of gluten in these beers has been deemed inaccurate.
And that’s where the fear sets in a bit.
Scientists recently completed a study and they found that a widely used method of detecting gluten levels in beer is often inaccurate. Here’s a link to the entire study.
The researchers examined 60 beers to see whether their levels of hordein, a common barley-derived type of gluten protein, were accurately detected by ELISA, the test approved by the World Health Organization to detect gluten. ELISA is relatively simple to perform, but the scientists found that it often failed to accurately detect high hordein levels compared to a more sensitive but complicated method, multiple-reaction monitoring mass spectrometry (MRM-MS).
The study showed that ELISA fails to accurately measure hordein proteins that are altered during the beer-brewing process, but can still cause health problems for gluten-intolerants. Most barley-derived beers contain only trace levels of hordein, but those levels are still too high for celiacs and gluten-intolerants to drink safely.
The researchers concluded that ELISA, while convenient, is no longer a suitable method of measuring gluten in beverages derived from wheat or barley.
So where does this leave us?
If I’m the company that brews “gluten-free beer” from barley or malted wheat, I’m not too happy today. Do I change my brewing process? Do I stop calling my beer gluten-free? Who exactly is my market?
And if I’m the consumer, that’s another conundrum. Do I still take my chances?
Personally, I will not drink any beers made from barley. Simply not worth the risk, and when you’ve got Tito’s vodka, well…beer takes a back seat now anyway.
I just wish we could come to a day when gluten-free means GLUTEN-FREE.
A celiac can dream, can’t he?