Many people seek GlutenFree products. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Nearly all foods have some gluten in them. When someone with celiac disease consumes  a high level of gluten, his or her body reacts.  That reaction can damage the lining of the small intestine. Symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating and diarrhea.

The standard used by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines all Pines’ products as GlutenFree.  That standard requires less than 20 parts per million of gluten to be labeled gluten free.  Because all our products meet that standard, we proudly use “GlutenFree” on all our labels.

The Standard Should Have Been Based on Serving Size

Unfortunately, the FDA’s standard for a gluten free claim on a food label was not very well thought out.

The standard should have been “gluten per serving” rather than “parts per million.” For example, the weight of serving of two slices of bread is 52 grams. A serving of another food might be 5 grams. If both foods contained the same ppm of gluten, the serving of bread would result in 10 times more gluten.  But since the standard is in ppm, both are considered equal in gluten level. Without knowing the actual amount of gluten per serving, a ppm standard is not very helpful.

Even So, We Follow the FDA’s GlutenFree Standard

The FDA requires that a product must be less than 20 ppm to be labeled as “gluten free.” Since nearly all foods contain trace amounts of gluten, the FDA’s standard is just slightly above the “background” level of gluten in the environment. Even so, Pines Wheat Grass and all Pines products are GlutenFree by FDA standards.  We test each batch to make sure it meets the less than 20 ppm standard. As you can see in the photo, wheatgrass is a completely different food than the wheat grain. When grown correctly, wheatgrass is a vegetable, not a grain, and is gluten free.

Some Perspective on Gluten Levels

Here’s some math that puts the 20 ppm standard into perspective. Bread contains 100,000 ppm (10%) of Gluten. A wheat bread sandwich contains 5.2 grams of gluten (5,200 mg.) Pines Wheat Grass is always less than 20 ppm gluten, but if it contained 20 ppm, and you ate the recommended 3.5 gram serving, you would consume 0.00007 grams of gluten (0.07 mg). Divide the 5,200 mg. by 0.07 to learn that a sandwich contains 74,285 times more gluten than a serving Pines Wheat Grass. Put another way, you would have to consume more than 928 bottles of our 10 Ounce Pines Wheat Grass powder or swallow 520,000 Pines Wheat Grass tablets at one time to equal the gluten in an average wheat bread sandwich.