- It was found that no individuals reacted to the gluten-free beer
- It was found that some individuals reacted to the gluten-removed beer
- Based on the data, Gluten-Free Certification Organization will NOT certify gluten-removed beers
A recently released research study conducted by the Gluten Intolerance Group demonstrates that beers labelled “gluten-removed” may not be safe for individuals with celiac disease. The pilot study used blood samples from individuals with celiac disease to explore whether the proteins in gluten-free beer and gluten-removed beer were recognized by antibodies already present in the blood. The result of the study was that no blood samples reacted to the gluten-free beer but a percentage of blood samples did react to the gluten-removed beer. Based on the data of the study, the Gluten-Free Certification Organization will not certify gluten-removed beers.
“The Celiac Patient Antibody Response to Conventional and Gluten-Removed Beer” study was conducted by GIG at the University of Chicago’s Celiac Research Center and published online by the Journal of AOAC International.
“We’ve known there are issues surrounding fermented products made from gluten containing grains. That’s why we’ve never used them,” said James Neumeister, founder of Ground Breaker Brewing, the first dedicated gluten-free craft brewery in the United States. “It’s the same reason why in late 2015, the FDA issued a proposed ruling saying that products made from gluten containing grains couldn’t be labeled gluten-free.”
Gluten-free beers are produced using naturally gluten-free ingredients such as rice, sorghum, or cane sugar during the fermentation process. Gluten-removed or gluten-reduced beers are made using barley, wheat, or rye during the fermentation process and treated with an enzyme to break up the protein chains used to detect gluten, effectively circumventing gluten tests available on the market.
While companies like Ground Breaker have long heard anecdotal accounts from consumers regarding reactions to gluten-removed or gluten-reduced products, this is the first study to demonstrate such reactions.
“We are committed to continuing these types of studies to assure our customers that the decisions we are making are valid,” said Cynthia Kupper, CEO of GIG. “This study was done as a proof of concept of the methodology. Our hope is a bigger study will be conducted to provide an even bigger picture of the possible risk of these products to the gluten-free community.”
On February 23rd, GIG hosted a webinar with discussion of the study. The webinar was discussed by Laura Allred, Ph.D., GIG’s Regulatory & Standards Manager and lead author of the study; James Neumeister, founder of Ground Breaker Brewing; and Jordan Middlebrook of KingGlutenFree.com. It is available to view on YouTube.