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Survey of Tea Shows Limits of Gluten-Screening Procedures

Celiac.com 09/30/2015 - In 2013, a team from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration conducted a survey of white and green teas, commercially available in the northeastern United States, for the presence of gluten in the form of undeclared wheat.

Tea in bowls. Photo: CC--A Girl with TeaThe survey team included EA Garber, R Panda, and KF Shireen. They are variously affiliated with the Office of Regulatory Science, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, and the Office of Compliance, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition in College Park, Maryland, USA.

Initially, none of the test results show the required concurrence between the RIDASCREEN gliadin (R5) enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and the Morinaga Institutes of Biological Science (MIoBS) wheat protein ELISA.

So, just based on that, it would appear that none of the 20 products included in the survey tested positive for wheat, rye, barley, or gluten.

Moreover, eight of the teas generated responses indicative of the presence of gluten with the RIDASCREEN gliadin (R5), AgraQuant gluten G12, and Aller-Tek (Skerritt) sandwich ELISAs. Five of the eight teas generated responses indicative of >20 ppm of gluten using the RIDASCREEN and AgraQuant ELISA test kits, and all eight had ≥ 20 ppm based on the Aller-Tek ELISA.

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Extracts prepared using the RIDASCREEN validated protocol and the MIoBS validated sodium dodecyl sulfate plus β-mercaptoethanol (overnight) protocol were analyzed using both test kits. The extracts prepared using the RIDASCREEN protocol tested positive for gluten with both test kits.

Western blot analyses of the two sets of extracts using the R5 and MIoBS antibodies to visualize the bands revealed the presence of antigenic proteins in both sets of extracts, although the profiles and band intensities were different and inconsistent with the ELISA results.

Right now, there's no need for alarm. The researchers are not saying that these types of tea contains gluten. Technically these teas are not failing a gluten test.

What the researchers are saying is that there needs to be a review of gluten screening procedures and how the observation of a homologous antigenic element is defined, so that the tests are accurate and reliable.


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The only symptom I know of that is celiac for certain is dh, which must be diagnosed by a dermatologist.

I have both eoe and celiac and now that I have been gluten free for 18 months, my anemia is gone. It is good to get off the iron supliments because mine may have been the cause of my ulcers. It feels good to recover and heal! I may work my way down to fewer supliments and lots of feel great da...

Your daughter does not have a strong positive. I suspect that the GI might do as RMJ suggested which would be to load her up on gluten for six months and retest. On the other hand, with a diagnosed sibling and a very mild positive, your GI might recommend the endoscopy or run the test again to ...

I was diagnosed with celiac last year on an endoscopy looking for the cause of my anemia. At the time, my GI doc tested m for EoE and it was negative. Fast forward 11 months, I developed sudden heart burn, dysphagia out of the blue. My doc thinks it's EoE. Biopsy was last week and I am still wait...

No, the control test is to verify that she will react to that particular type of test. If she didn't, then certain of the bloods would not be applicable to her. They would be false negatives. As far as tests being weak positives, that's like being a little pregnant. A positive is a positive....