Reading Labels For Gluten-Free Caffeine-Free and Alcohol-Free Products
I came across an article today that talked about reading labels for gluten-free products but touched on the entire labeling process and what it can mean. With more and more gluten-free diet products coming to the marketplace as more and more people are looking and buying them, proper labeling would be a great help. Politics seems to be the main focus however and ways to misinform the consumer rather than help them make informed decisions.
The specific article I was reading was inspired from the discussion that ensued from the new Widmer Bros., Gluten-Free Lager called Omission. It is the first “gluten-free beer” that tastes like beer to hit the marketplace and that is because it is made from the same ingredients regular beer is brewed from. Therein lies the problem.
Even though it contains less gluten than many so-called “gluten-free” diet products as per FDA and WHO guidelines the fact that the base ingredients are obviously grains containing gluten the American Treasure Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Trade Bureau say that they can not label the beer as being gluten-free. Since it is this trade bureau that controls this type of product, they win.
Reading Labels For Gluten-Free Products is Confused
Widmer Bros. brewing, is among a handful of breweries in the Portland area that are crafting gluten-free beers. Now, Widmer is in a little bit of hot water with the Treasury Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (“TTB”). The issue is over the ingredients in Widmer’s gluten-free brew. Here’s an excerpt from the Willamette Week about the issue:
According to the TTB, wine, beer or distilled spirits “made from ingredients that contain gluten (cannot) be labeled as ‘gluten-free.’” This could spell trouble for Widmer, which has invested significant time and money in a new gluten-free beer.~source
The people brewing this gluten-free beer created it initially for their own personal reasons being they are directly impacted by Celiac Disease either themselves or their family members. They are not jumping the gluten-free diet bandwagon. It was self-serving first to appease their own taste buds and then for the larger gluten-free marketplace. Where there is a will there is a way and it seems they have succeeded in taste and in solution. Now we just have to wait to see what the TTB decided.
What do you think? How would you make reading labels for gluten-free products any easier? Is it in the wording or in the regulations? In this case, the beer seems to have gone beyond agreed upon regulations and concretely seems to have the desired outcome with no undesirable effect on the person suffering from Celiac or gluten intolerance. What do you have to say?
Please share this freely with your Celiac beer loving friends to get their take on this.