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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Will Australia's Gluten-free Barley Set the Beer World on Fire?

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 04/29/2016 - Efforts to develop gluten-free version of traditional grains like wheat have been underway for some time, with limited success.

    Photo: CC--Allispossible.org.ukNow, scientists in Australia say they've developed the world's first World Health Organization-approved "gluten-free" barley.

    Since barley is a key ingredient in traditional beers, you might imagine that the beer viewing world would be keenly interested in such a development, and you would be right.

    Developed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), the product, called Kebari barley, has already drawn interest from a number of commercial breweries. One German brewery, Radeberger, has already ordered 70 tons of the product.

    Kebari is not genetically modified. Instead, it is the end product of "cross-breeding low gluten barley varieties," CSIRO told Reuters. While Kebari is not 100 percent gluten-free, it is bred to contain "10,000 times less gluten than traditional strains, or about 5 parts of gluten per million, well below the World Health Organization's (WHO) 20 parts per million for classification as a gluten-free grain," according to Reuters.

    With gluten-free foods and beverages being of the world's fastest growing consumer trends, gluten-free barley could prove to be a very popular ingredient for making celiac-safe beers in the traditional European style.

    "A true gluten-free barley variety is a true game changer; there is going to be a massive market for the product," Phin Ziebell, an agribusiness economist at National Australia Bank, told Reuters.


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    So what sort of ppm of gluten could one expect in beers based on this grain? This could be great if it's low enough.

    I suspect far less than 5ppm, and gluten can't be detected under 3ppm, so bring it on!

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    I've been drinking the beers from Glutenberg which are made from millet. They are quite good, way better than the awful sorghum based beers. They make an American Pale Ale, an IPA and a blonde ale. I'm very happy to have found a gluten-free beer that actually tastes like beer.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He 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 science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF 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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