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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    New TTB Guidelines for Gluten-Free Booze and Beer Labeling

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 04/18/2014 - Confusion over the labeling of gluten-free beers just got a bit clearer, thanks to new guidelines by the The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). The new guidelines clarify the use of the term “gluten-free” in labeling for alcohol products.

    Photo: CC---Ds_Sx_Pax_and_DogxThe Bureau announced that it would continue to consider gluten-free claims to be “misleading” if they were used to describe products made from gluten containing grains.

    Products in which gluten has been removed or reduced to below 20 ppm may be labeled as “processed,” “treated,” or “crafted to remove gluten,” if the claim is made “with a qualifying statement that warns the consumer that the gluten content of the product cannot be determined and that the product may contain gluten,” according to the guidelines.

    These guidelines are consistent with regulations set forth by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in August, which also ruled that alcoholic beverages made from ingredients that do not contain any gluten – such as wines fermented from fruit and spirits distilled from non-grain materials – may continue to be labeled as gluten-free.

    Craft Brew Alliance (CBA), the Portland, Ore.-based maker of Omission Beer, brewed with traditionally malted ingredients and then treated to reduce the gluten content in the finished product, issued a statement that the “TTB announcement regarding gluten-free labeling does not require changes in the way Omission Beer is labeled, or any other aspect of the production and sale of our beers.”

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    This sounds fair enough. Give the consumer information to make their own decisions. I'm a big fan of Omission beer and have never gotten sick from it, but I wouldn't want it to be labeled as gluten free since it is not. Gluten free should be reserved for products which never contained gluten in the first place.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in biology, anatomy, medicine, science, and advanced research, and scientific methods. He previously served as Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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