While it still may be a fledgling slice of the beer industry in America, gluten-free beer has filled a void for those who cannot (or would rather not) drink a beer made with wheat or other grains containing molecules similar to gluten.
While 100% gluten-free beer solves this problem completely by using alternative ingredients such as sorghum and buckwheat, Portland, Oregon's Omission Brewery uses a scientific process to reduce gluten content down to levels safe enough even for those with mild gluten allergies. This offers an advantage in taste because the body of the beer is still constructed of grains typical of beer, so it really does taste like beer.
Despite making beer that’s safe for most gluten-intolerant drinkers, Omission has found itself between a rock and a hard place — the Food and Drug Administration has forbidden the makers from labeling their product as gluten-free. Instead, they had to label their beers “processed," "treated" or "crafted" to remove gluten, along with a special disclaimer that they may contain gluten.
But thanks to a new ruling this past Friday, Omission is allowed to label their products as gluten-free because they contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten. Although 20 ppm is the FDA standard, other gluten certification programs like the Gluten-Free Certification Organization demand stricter limits because those with severe gluten allergies may still feel the affects above 10 ppm.
The ruling is also causing its fair share of headaches among gluten-free breweries like Harvester Brewing and New Planet Beer, who have worked hard in developing their 100% gluten-free products. In a commendably respectable approach to the situation, both breweries have taken to the social media world to inquire with their consumer base. The response has highlighted a key demographic: people who are allergic to gluten in any quantity, and would almost certainly be affected by Omission's formula. Understandably, the outcry is that gluten-free should mean completely gluten-free. Luckily there are already several breweries that fit the bill.
You can read more about the ruling on beerpulse.com.
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