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Is Gluten-Free Canary Seed the Next Big Thing?
Celiac.com 05/04/2016 - First, the good news. Canary seed, commonly used as feed for its namesake yellow birds has been approved as gluten-free and fit for human consumption in Canada.
Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration deemed canary bird seed as a health food suitable for those who need to adhere to a gluten-free diet. Canary seed is similar in size to flax or sesame seeds, is high in protein, and has a nutty flavor with a pleasant aroma.
Canary seed can be added whole into energy bars and snack bars, sprinkled on yogurt or cereal. It can be used to top buns, bagels and breads. It can be ground into flour and use to make delicious cookies, muffins, crackers, breads, tortillas and pasta. Coincidentally, perhaps, Canda is the largest producer and exporter of canary seed.
Kevin Hursh, executive director of the Canaryseed Development Commission of Saskatchewan says, "It's hoped the approval for human consumption can broaden the market."
Now the bad news. Canary seed, might not not be suitable for everyone with a serious gluten sensitivity, as it shares a single common protein with wheat. That means the seed will be labelled with an allergen warning, until research can determine if the restriction can be safely removed, say Hursh.
In the meantime, stay tuned to see what canary seed means for the future of gluten-free foods.
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Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. His poems, essays and photographs have appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate among others.
He is a member of both the National Writers Union, the International Federation of Journalists, and covers San Francisco Health News for Examiner.com.View all articles by Jefferson Adams