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The Fight Against Omission Beer

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Many of you probably know Omission Beer—they brew beer with barley and then use an osmotic process to remove the gluten after brewing.

 

Despite being technically "gluten-reduced," they market their product (loudly) as being gluten free; consistently below 20ppm.

 

However a lot of celiacs—including me—find that drinking their beer triggers glutening symptoms. The controversy is a wider one—is below 20ppm really ok for us?—but Omission only puts the details of their process in the very fine print.

 

My take: the experts generally hold that celiacs really shouldn't consume any gluten whatsoever, and indeed an absence of symptoms doesn't necessarily mean that your intestines aren't being damaged. I've suffered a lot for making low-grade gluten mistakes over time in absence of symptoms, and frankly, for lack of medical education, I wish that others had gotten in my face about the potential dangers. It took a mistaken diagnosis of refractory type 2 to get my ducks in a row and avoid gluten in all forms.

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Thanks for the link. Indeed the consensus is murky at best. What I know is the testaments from many folks around the internets that Omission in particular triggers symptoms. I think this puts weight on the argument that this product is rather unsafe.

 

They call their product gluten-free throughout their website, and quite often in their social media postings.

 

http://omissionbeer.com

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I browsed their site, and do think it is important that if people are going after this company for "They call their product gluten-free throughout their website, and quite often in their social media postings.", then it is up to those who are making this claim to support it with evidence. I could find no mention on their site, or on their packaging that their beer is "gluten-free." 

 

I have also had this been for years without issues, and in full disclosure they've never advertised here because they don't want to make it look like they are making that claim.

 

I question people who are rallying against this company to consider the fact that they are free not to drink it, while people like me and other celiacs will. If the claim is that they are marketing the beer as gluten-free, please show us examples of such marketing, like links to Tweets, or pages on their site that show this.

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In the FAQ section of their website they do state that their beer is gluten free. They also give great detail about the testing that they go through and the processes that they use for brewing the beer. I like that they do not use sorghum to brew it as to me that has a nasty aftertaste. 

I have really missed beer and will definately give it a try.

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I have read elsewhere that testing food (or drink) for gluten is not particularly accurate when the gluten grain is barley. Here is an article from a web site I am admitedly not familiar with, although they SEEM to know what they are talking about. I think it's in the second or third paragraph about the barley.

 

http://www.glutenfreedietitian.com/gluten-testing/

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Here is another (rather lengthy) article about barley testing. It basically says the same thing as the article I posted above but it also mentions that in Oregon where Omission beer is made, they are allowed to call it gluten-free because "local" beer labeling is regulated by the state. Once beer is shipped out of state the labeling is regulated by the feds and they do not allow Omission to make the gluten-free claim.

 

https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/reports/Gluten_Removed_Barley_Based_Beers_Jan_14.pdf

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Ok, so again, I just read the FAQ and it does not claim that the beer is gluten-free. It says the R5 Competitive ELISA (which is now considered the gold standard for detecting hydrolyzed gluten) does not detect anything. This is not the same as them marketing it as gluten-free. 

 

Can someone please show me where Omission, in their marketing materials, or in their Tweets, claim that it is gluten-free? 

 

The beer is gluten-free, but that is apparently beside the point.

 

Do you realize that you can make sourdough bread from wheat flour that tests gluten-free? I would not start doing this and eating it, but it is a fact.

 

I think the real debate here is whether or not people will believe that wheat can be treated with enzymes or probiotics or both and rendered gluten-free and safe. There are those out there that will never believe this, no matter what the science says about it, and those folks should avoid such things. 

 

There are lots of scientists around the world now working on probiotic and other treatments that will do exactly this, but in your gut should you ingest some gluten. It should be no surprise to anyone that a brewery could throw such enzymes into their vat and produce the same effects--and better yet, filter it so fine that it could not contain the prolamines.

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I went to their website. There is a map and they ask you to click on a state. Because the second article I posted says they can only make the gluten-free claim in Oregon, I clicked on Oregon. This is the first thing I read:

 

We had a mission...

to brew a great
craft beer that happens
to be gluten-free.

Handcrafted beers made from malted
barley, hops, water and yeast.
Where the only thing missing is the
gluten. Well, mission accomplished.
Here’s to great beer for everyone.
21 and over that is.

 

Even after I exited the site I couldn't get the map to reappear so I could click on a different state to see what it says so I don't know if they make the claim when the beer is shipped out of state.

 

I'm not trying to argue with you, just trying to find the best info for others. Personally, I wouldn't try it when I can get Bard's for those rare occasions when I feel like having a beer. Come to think of it, other than the sample of Bard's I tried at a gluten-free expo, I haven't had a beer in years. :lol:

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Aha! I got it - clicked on South Dakota this time and THIS is what the message says:

 

mission...

to brew a great
craft beer with traditional beer ingredients that everyone of legal drinking
age can enjoy.

Handcrafted beers made from barley, hops,
water and yeast, brewed using a proprietary
process to remove gluten. Well, mission accomplished. Here’s to great beer for
everyone. 21 and over that is.

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I wanted to throw my 2 cents in.

 

Not sure what other states' labels reflect but...

 

Being one who lives in TN and is currently enjoying a refreshing Omission, blue label, pale ale at this very moment, here is what the label clearly states on the front; in full-disclosure:

 

'Crafted to remove gluten. 

GOVERNMENT DISCLAIMER:

Omission beer is fermented from grains containing gluten and crafted to remove gluten. The gluten content of this product cannot be verified and this product may contain gluten.'

 

Hope this helps.

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I went to their website. There is a map and they ask you to click on a state. Because the second article I posted says they can only make the gluten-free claim in Oregon, I clicked on Oregon. This is the first thing I read:

 

We had a mission...

to brew a great

craft beer that happens

to be gluten-free.

Handcrafted beers made from malted

barley, hops, water and yeast.

Where the only thing missing is the

gluten. Well, mission accomplished.

Here’s to great beer for everyone.

21 and over that is.

 

Even after I exited the site I couldn't get the map to reappear so I could click on a different state to see what it says so I don't know if they make the claim when the beer is shipped out of state.

 

I'm not trying to argue with you, just trying to find the best info for others. Personally, I wouldn't try it when I can get Bard's for those rare occasions when I feel like having a beer. Come to think of it, other than the sample of Bard's I tried at a gluten-free expo, I haven't had a beer in years. :lol:

I live in NY and that is what I saw also. Looks like the statements differ by state.

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I am it sure a out Omission, specifically but, some of these gluten removed beers were claiming gluten-free. Then the federal goverment told them they couldn't and they all seemed to have stopped saying exactly " gluten free". I still see individual liquor stores that will label the shelf " gluten free", but that isn't the brewery doing it.

I think the problem people have with these gluten removed beers is the testing method and if it is accurate for barley or alcoholic beverages. We have had links about it here many times.

Here is a good explanation of the issues with testing. Also explains that Omission is allowed to call itself gluten-free in its state of origin, Oregon.

https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/reportUploads/Gluten_Removed_Barley_Based_Beers_Jan_14.pdf

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I was going to post what I found on Omissions web site about their mission being to brew a gluten-free beer and mission accomplished etc etc...but see that others have already done so.

 

What I'm now going to say is different but probably even more likely to cause conflict. Please just read the whole thing first.

 

An acquaintance was first dx 18 years ago with celiac disease. His case was much more severe, wasting, than mine, and practically the instant he went gluten-free, his symptoms went away. But then a few years ago, it was a hot day and someone offered him a craft beer and he drank it. Nothing he said. No reaction. So, he started drinking nice craft beers. Not gluten-free-marketed beers. But craft beers. But, he wanted to see if any markers showed up. (Again, please read the whole thing.) So he stopped. He got the gliadin antibody tests - not diagnostic. He was clear (AGAIN. Please keep reading, I know I know.) So he did the craft beer challenge and started drinking it again and a few months later got the ABA IgA or IgG test. Nothing. He was clear. (....hope you are reading and not jumping to comment!)

 

So now, my commentary. Setting aside for the moment that tests available for gluten in foodstuffs are bad, we must I guess, test our bodies. Gliadin is a broken down component of wheat and would not therefore measure hordein, the broken down component of barley. So, to my way of thinking, the test he had done was not really useful, right? My understanding is that aside from the ABA IgG and ABA IgA tests, there are three other components of the Celiac panel, but none of them test for anything but gliadin or reaction to gliadin. Not hordein. Not seculin (?).

 

Moving on, I got on the Internet and have discovered that there are indeed some beers without being marketed as gluten-free that are below 20PPM in gluten. I had no idea! I do not know about craft beers.

 

My symptoms are milder than my acquaintance's, and yet I generally do not like to gamble with anything that might contain gluten, because I am aware of the Celiac iceberg. But sometimes it is tempting. Is there any way to have an open discussion on this without going automatically to "do not drink any beer period?"

 

Just testing the board waters.

 

Plumbago

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I thought the sample I had of Bard's was pretty good for a lager-type beer. Back when I could drink I liked dark beers better. Newcastle Brown Ale was my favorite. I think I remember somewhere on this board someone mentioned a gluten-free dark beer that was really good but I don't remember what it was. I wouldn't be able to get it here in my tiny town anyway so I didn't pay attention. Maybe someone will chime in.

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To me it seems like they are making it very clear to everyone that they use barley to brew their beer and are not trying to hide anything from anyone. Like oats, it is up to the gluten-free consumer to decide whether or not to include this in their diets...there are alternative options out there like Bard's for those who want to exclude barley. 

 

There are several other beers that are successfully using the same approach to remove gluten from their beers, and these beers, in my opinion, are superior. In Germany beers that don't use barley and follow the "Reinheitsgebot" can't legally be called "beer," and are instead malt beverages. Some of these "beers" I've tasted definitely don't taste like beers, and, in my opinion, use a form of false advertising by marketing them as such...but I won't start a thread about this.  :rolleyes:

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So in states where they’re not allowed to call themselves gluten-free, Omission’s website mission statement does not mention “gluten-free”; whereas in states where they can, they do. Regardless, midway through the homepage (outside of Portland), under “Test Results,” they include the disclaimer that you usually see on the actual product label: “[…]Omission beer may contain gluten.”

 
So how is that gluten-free?
 
Re social media: on Twitter they laboriously avoid saying “gluten-free” unless they’re re-tweeting someone else. Fair enough. They do not observe this rule on Facebook, and you might see a few of us trolls tailing their posts with complaints.
 
Get a life, right? Hey, I love the taste of Omission. I remember what real beer tasted like and I like Omission much better than sorghum brews. Unfortunately, it gave me wicked glutening symptoms. And I’m far from the only one. What that says to me—anecdotally—is that if I have an autoimmune sensitivity to gluten, and Omission gives me glutening symptoms, it’s not gluten free.
 
Speaking to the “celiac iceberg,” maybe that makes me extra-sensitive. Or maybe I (and others) have an additional intolerance specific to Omission but not to gluten-free beers like sorghum brews that don’t have gluten in them to begin with.
 
Or maybe they’ve been successfully gluten-removed to the extent that other—perhaps most—people who are less sensitive don’t have any reaction to. I hope it doesn’t do any damage to you under the “iceberg”! Because symptoms don’t always need to be present for damage, right? I understand the shifting validity around tests for gluten content, but I’m under the distinct impression that the above isn’t hotly debated. 
 
For my part, I don’t see how anything that needs to deal with awkward “may contain gluten” statements can be possibly included in the camp of gluten-free foods. To the extent that they’re avoiding that description themselves, good on them; caveat emptor. But they’re not entirely consistent themselves, and more to the point, if you look at their Twitter feed, everyone ELSE, personal and corporate, is calling them gluten-free. So the product positioning seems to be working. 
 
Anyway, I didn’t realize there already were other threads on this topic. Stay healthy & enjoy the suds.

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You are mistaking legal disclaimers from reality. Just because labeling laws have certain requirements, for example foods made in facilities that also use wheat, that doesn't mean that those products contain wheat. In fact, products made in facilities that produce wheat might test negative while some made in gluten-free facilities might test positive. Many products, even ones with gluten-free certifications, have tested positive for gluten. How does this happen? Just because you have a gluten-free facility doesn't mean that the facilities where you get the ingredients are also gluten-free.

 

Once again, the beer tests gluten-free using what is considered to be the industry gold standard for such testing--the R5 Competitive ELISA. I have no problem with them making the claim it is gluten-free, and do understand that they must juggle a ton of contradictory state and federal labeling laws and essentially walk a tight rope to be able to manufacture and sell this product to their target market. 

 

We are only in round one of the USA labeling laws, and I suspect that round two will include such products as gluten-free. 

 

Also, not to totally discount anecdotal evidence, but there are lots of people who are super sensitive who claim lots of interesting things that can't be backed up by science--for example that distilled spirits made from gluten grains contain gluten--no scientist who understands the distillation process supports this, yet we have similar claims. 

 

One thing I do know is that those who believe this beer is harmful should not drink it, but for the rest of us products like Omission are exactly what we've been hoping for since being diagnosed.

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Scott, what I would be concerned about is the fact that so many scientific articles (I posted a couple) say that the test doesn't work very well for gluten from barley.

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What you linked to was not a scientific article...it was a dietitian's web site. Actually Omission also used Mass Spectrometry, which does detect the glutenin fraction that they were concerned about in the article discussed in the link you sent (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2582232/). From Omission's site:

 

 

In 2013, Mass Spec research was conducted by an independent lab which validated that Omission Lager and Pale Ale are devoid of known barley toxic epitopes, the specific peptide sequences and reactive sites in gluten molecules that cause reactions in the human small intestine.  These same beers were tested using the R5 Competitive ELISA and were found to lack any measureable gluten content.   A growing body of peer reviewed scientific literature supports that our process is effective in breaking up and detoxifying gluten peptides.

 

They also used the competitive R5-ELISA  rather than the sandwich R5-ELISA, which according to the original research article in your link is more accurate (why has the dietitian overlooked this in the article she sites?): 

 

 

 

Indeed, a subsequent study [25] suggests that the R5-ELISA fails to detect some forms of gluten, at least when employed in the sandwich format. The sandwich R5-ELISA yielded lower gluten values on beer samples than the competitive R5-ELISA. This difference was attributed to an inability of the sandwich R5-ELISA to detect hydrolysed gluten, however the experiments were insufficiently controlled to show that the competitive R5-ELISA reliably detected all gluten in the commercial samples tested.

 

 

Here are some research articles that support using Mass Spectrometry to accurately detect gluten (glutenin, gliadin, etc.):

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PS - In this chart you can see that some "gluten-free" beers made with sorghum test as high as some "gluten" beers made using barley, but many commercial beers that are made using barley do test below 20ppm:

One other downside to the position that we can't properly test beers for gluten content, is that "gluten-free" beers like Bard's could not then reliably claim that they are gluten-free...right? As mentioned, cross contamination can happen at multiple points, including in box cars used to transport grains, in the field, etc.

 

If we can't test them for gluten content, how can these beers make the claim that they are gluten-free? 

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I get excited when I go to a bar that has a gluten free beer on the menu.  Unfortunately 95% of the time it's a beer from omission. I tried to drink omission but because it has gluten in it I get messed up and it's not worth it.  My question is how to stop the misnomer that this beer is safe when it's not for celiacs.  It's hard to complain when a bar is trying to support celiacs by having a "gluten free" beer for us.  Shame on omission for making it seem like they are the answer these bars can carry for celiacs when it's really not the answer.   

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Yeah used to be great when you could go to a bar and find a safe rum or cider from a brand you trust. Never did like beer as it always made me deathly sick even before diagnosis. Now days I have nervous panic attacks trying to fit in at a bar cause beer has been spilled on everything, and knowing the entire place is CC hazard from hell. Rather just sit at home and if I want sip on a tiny bit of rum or cider. >.< I miss my evening drinks of root beer and vanilla rum, can't wait for my bleeding issues to stop so I can go back to having a bit of rum in the evenings. >.> I have fallen back to using a rum flavoring in my homemade sodas, or cooking with to impart the flavor without the alcohol.

 

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