Is Wheatgrass Gluten Free?

Gluten-Free Certification

Is Wheatgrass Gluten Free?

Is Wheatgrass Gluten Free?

By Steven Goodemote Google+

Gluten that causes reactions in people who have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity is found in the grains, or seeds, of the plants. For example, the stalk of rye does not contain gluten, but the grains on the top of a mature stalk do contain gluten. Is wheatgrass gluten free? The young wheatgrass is gluten free just as other grains that is harvested before mature. Pure wheatgrass that has not begun to seed does not contain gluten. However, if the wheatgrass is fully mature and has begun to seed, it will not be gluten free.

Gluten Contamination

Even if the wheatgrass has been harvested before being fully mature to avoid the development of seeds, products made with wheatgrass could become contaminated with gluten. Food and vitamins made with wheatgrass and labeled as gluten free could be subject to cross-contamination if products made with gluten are manufactured in the same factory.

Some dieticians recommend avoiding any products with wheatgrass unless it have been tested for gluten cross-contamination. The R5 ELISA test is a reputable test for discovering trace amounts of gluten in products claiming to be gluten free but susceptible to cross contamination.

Gluten-Free Certification

More consumers are looking for certified gluten-free products. Several companies test and certify products for certified gluten-free status. Unfortunately, there is not a uniform standard for declaring that a food or vitamin is gluten free. Each certifying company has its own standards.

In order for a product to be called gluten free, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that the trace gluten content be less than 20 parts per million (ppm). When a food or vitamin is labeled as certified gluten free, it means it has passed the testing by the certifying company which is usually a stricter control than the FDA standard. Some certifying companies require the product contain 5 ppm or less of gluten.

How to Identify Seeding Wheatgrass

When cooking or juicing with wheatgrass, the presence of gluten can be avoided by ensuring that the wheatgrass consists of smooth blades and lacks any seeds. Gluten-free wheatgrass has sleek, green tips. The tip of seeding wheatgrass has turned yellow or brown and has a feathery appearance. The seeds are clearly visible.

Wheatgrass that has begun to seed should be avoided by anyone with celiac disease. Some people may be tempted to use seeding wheatgrass but only the wheatgrass stem and avoid the seed kernels. Again, there is the danger of contamination. It’s better to avoid it than to risk exposure to gluten from the seeds.

Who Needs a Gluten-Free Diet?

Gluten free has been a trendy buzzword in the food industry. The only people who really need a gluten-free diet are those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity which is a very small segment of the population. Most people can tolerate gluten without any ill effects. If you are one of the few who need to eliminate gluten from your diet, then it is important to know if wheatgrass is gluten free. Using only young wheatgrass for juicing or cooking and looking for the certified gluten free label can help ensure that the wheatgrass foods and vitamins are gluten free.