Australia’s CSIRO develop world’s first gluten-free barley beer

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 18th April 2016

multimediaThumbA German beverage company is launching the world’s first gluten-free barley-based beer. The gluten free grain used in the beer was developed by Australia’s leading research institution, the CSIRO.

The ‘Pionier’ gluten-free beer is made using ‘Kebari ultra-low gluten’ barley, a strain of barley the CSIRO says took 14 years to develop.

“Pathetic irony” says Australia says food lawyer 

Kebari barley is defined as gluten-free under the World Health Organisation’s recommendations. However, under the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, the beer cannot be called gluten free.

FoodLegal expert Joe Lederman said this is another instance of a brilliant Australian discovery losing a huge market opportunity.

“Instead, this world leading product is being launched only in foreign markets until such time as the Food Standards code in Australia can catch up with the world,” Lederman said.

“This is a pathetic irony,” he said.

How the science made the invention

CSIRO Principal Research Scientist, Dr Crispin Howitt, said using conventional breeding, the CSIRO is able to reduce the gluten levels in Kebari barley to 10, 000 times less than regular barley.

“In the future, this will provide more variety for the global population, including 1 to 2 per cent of Australians, with coeliac disease and people who avoid gluten in their diet,” Dr Howitt said.

The CSIRO is now working on a hulless version of Kebari which is best suited for use in foods like cereals, soup, pasta and flatbreads.

It is also exploring whether an Australian brewing partner would be interested in creating a low gluten beer using Kebari.