Health Canada handles beer and gluten-free claims in 2 ways
1 splitting beer made from grains containing gluten (1) and beer made from non-gluten containing grains (2).
1. Beer made from grains containing gluten
Includes: barley, wheat, oats, rye
It is the position of Health Canada that there is uncertainty around
the absolute removal of gluten from beer or beer-like products
made using barley, oats, rye, triticale, wheat or their hybridized
strains. For this reason, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency
objects to the use of a “gluten-free” claim on beers produced using
However, they do not object to the use of the statement “This
product is fermented from grains containing gluten and [process or
treated or crafted] to remove gluten. The gluten content of this
product cannot be verified, and this product may contain gluten”.
In this case, breweries must be prepared to provide evidence to
substantiate their claim.
2. Beer made from non-gluten containing grains
Including: quinoa, sorghum, millet, buckwheat
Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency do not
object to the use of a “gluten-free” claim on a beer-like product
derived from a non-gluten grain so long as it meets the
requirements outlined for “gluten-free” claims. This includes
ensuring there is no cross-contamination with gluten
As it stands, these products are not considered beer and are
labelled as an unstandardized “alcoholic beverage”.
Inquirers should always consult their doctor and/or the medical
community for advice.