Here's some news I didn't want to hear. A study conducted by the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) at the University of Chicago's Celiac Research Center found that so-called gluten-removed beers, such as Omission, may be unsafe for people with celiac disease.
This has been an ongoing issue since these beers were introduced. There are several gluten-free beers brewed from grains such as sorghum. Omission (the most well-known gluten-removed beer) and several other brands claim they can brew beer from barley but remove the gluten, so that the gluten content falls below the 20 parts per million standard which is considered safe for celiacs.
However, there has not been a reliable test for gluten content in beers, so many celiac advocates have questioned the actual safety of beer made from barley.
GIG is a trusted organization. In fact, GIG runs the gluten-free certification program, the one that certifies that food products are made according to accepted standards to ensure they are gluten free.
GIG said its study tested blood samples of celiacs and found that none of them reacted to gluten-free beer, but some did react to gluten-removed beers.
“The medical and scientific community has not validated or accepted that these low-gluten or gluten-removed beers are safe because available gluten testing methods have not been sufficiently accurate with fermented and hydrolyzed products,” says GIG Chief Executive Cynthia Kupper, CEO of GIG.
“That is why we conducted this first-of-its-kind study, because even if one person with celiac reacts to gluten-removed beers, it shows it would not be appropriate to certify this product category according to our standards."
Kupper says she hopes a bigger study will be conducted to assess the risks of gluten-removed beers.
I will often drink a gluten-removed beer in a bar or restaurant that has no other gluten-free options but since questions about those beers first emerged a couple of years ago, I stopped buying them in stores to keep at home.
Now I guess I'm going to have to reconsider my options when I'm out. I'm going to be very reluctant to drink another Omission.