@OmissionBeer have always claimed that they are Gluten-Free, yet time and again the FDA has denied requests that would allow the company to label their beer Gluten-Free. Even though the FDA doesn’t directly oversee Omission Beer and the TTB does, the agencies are working together to share a common GF labeling standard.
Omission Beer is made using barley, which is not a naturally gluten free grain. Omission claims they have developed a process to remove the gluten but their testing process still remains questionable. According to the co-director of the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program at the University of Nebraska, “while R5 ELISAs are well accepted for testing the gluten content of most foods, they can only detect intact proteins. The process that Craft Brew Alliance uses to remove the gluten from Omission beer breaks down the gluten proteins into fragments.” Dr. Stephen Taylor goes on to say in The Oregonian, “I’m concerned that there might be big pieces of gluten protein left in this beer that are still potentially hazardous.”
The celiaccommunity.org reports on the recent press release by Terry Michaelson, CEO of Craft Brew Alliance and the new FDA glutenfree regulations. He says, “we applaud the FDA for bringing U.S. rules in alignment with the global standard for gluten-free. Our beer tests well below the 20 ppm standard.” He eluded to the fact that their beer was now gluten free under the new regulations but that is not true. In fact, the TTB says that Omission will have to label their beer as, “processed to remove gluten” and that, “affixing a gluten-free label to a product made with barley, rye, wheat or crossbreeds would be inherently misleading.” Which means, that to date, there is no conclusive or reliable test available guaranteed to predict the 20ppm or under mandated by the FDA.
Mr. Michaelson is a diagnosed Celiac for 12 years and knows the difficulty in maintaining a gluten free lifestyle. He says, “any gluten you take in, whether you get sick or not, ends up in some way damaging the intestine. It’s obviously not something you want to do either for short-term reaction or long-term health.” And, Joe Casey, senior director of brewing at Craft Brew Alliance, whose wife was diagnosed with Celiac Disease says this about Omission, “There’s no denial that we’re going to find pieces of protein in the beer, those don’t go away. But those pieces are small. That’s our view on it.”
So you have the CEO of Omission beer admitting that even small amounts of gluten intake will cause damage and the senior director admitting to pieces of protein left in their beer. It would seem then, as a fellow Celiac, Mr. Michaelson would want the gluten ppm in his product to be as low as possible, way below the 20 ppm the FDA is allowing, with no protein floaters. Or maybe he could use a gluten free grain to begin with because why risk any more unnecessary gluten exposure?
Either way, I do not drink Omission beer and most of my gluten free friends don’t either. A good thing to remember is, just because you’re not having any kind of reaction on the outside, does not mean you’re not doing irreparable damage on the inside.
“I believe we would be better served by viewing symptoms of CD as of bodily intelligence rather than deviance”
– Sayer Ji