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Wednesday, July 22, 2015
My Letter to Zagat: Gluten-Removed is NOT Gluten-Free



Dear Zagat,

Thank you for featuring gluten-free cuisine on your YouTube channel. I appreciate you taking the time to interview the chefs of The Curious Fork and Senza Gluten. These people are making a huge difference in the lives of people living with celiac disease, myself included. To be a celiac and go into a restaurant and be able to eat anything and everything on a menu is a wonderful feeling. I have personally dined at Senza Gluten many times and love the "freedom" I have when ordering.

Unfortunately, your video immediately lost credibility when you featured a gluten-removed beer. Many people living with celiac disease, such as myself, cannot tolerate food or drink originally derived from gluten. This beer is made from barley and the gluten is removed through a special process. Once the gluten is removed, the beer is tested by the producer for the parts per million of gluten left in the beer. "Gluten detection isn't a particularly straightforward process, and there are several methods in use that can produce different results when used to test the same product."(SourceWhile the beer you featured says they are transparent with their test results, they also choose which tests to perform on their product. I believe that until these tests are regulated by the TTB or FDA across ALL products, individual companies will continue to use tests that are most convenient to their 20ppm or less regulations.

My question for you Zagat is why didn't you choose to feature a 100% gluten-free beer derived completely from gluten-free ingredients in a video about gluten-free options getting better? There are many delicious gluten-free beers on the market now that were not even for sale a few years ago. Breweries are now using gluten-free ingredients from start to finish in a dedicated gluten-free environment. I think it was a huge mistake on your part to feature a beer that is not actually gluten-free. The beer in the video can only be labeled gluten-free in the state of Oregon and outside of the United States. Featuring this gluten-removed beer made from barley (a gluten-filled grain) is misleading and confusing to the gluten-free customer.

In a video called "Gluten-Free Gets Good," all of your featured companies or restaurants should have been truly gluten-free. Perhaps a better title for this video would "Gluten-Free Food Gets Good While Some Beers are Gluten-Removed" or something a little bit more reflective of what you are actually showing. Yes, you do let the brewer explain his gluten-removal process but you fail to mention that people are having negative reactions to this type of beer or that it cannot legally be labeled gluten-free.

Zagat, you really could have done better with this video. More thorough research on gluten-free beers, a better title, and less misleading information would have made a huge difference. Maybe next time...

Sincerely,
Erin Smith
Living with celiac disease for 34 years

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The term "gluten removed" or "gluten reduced" is highly inaccurate. Nothing is removed, or reduced. Some protein chains are split to defeat the existing tests.

I asked somebody at a beer tasting if they thought that these breweries were hauling away truckloads of "removed" gluten and they were sure that this was happening. Nothing comes out. Everything is still in there.

I think we need a new term like "Treated With A GMO Enzyme To Defeat Current Tests Beer."

The GMO is another thing. Whole Foods doesn't allow products made with GMOs in their store, keeping out most of the Angry Orchard line, but these breweries have convinced WF that the enzyme is a brewing aid rather than an ingredient. The crazy part is that the enzyme hasn't even been denatured.

Blogger Cheryl Harris said...

Nicely said, Erin!

Blogger Mad Dr said...

Fantastic response, Erin!

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