Are there certified gluten-free beans and other grains?

Melinda Dennis MS, RDN, LDN
I am concerned regarding beans and other grains being contaminated with gluten-containing grains. How can I be secure that I won't get glutened? Are there any certified gf grains, either dried or canned? Do I need to worry about quinoa, teff, ground cornmeal, etc.? I miss having these powerhouses in my diet but I am scared to death of being glutened. The last episode landed me in ER so I need to be sure.

Answer


Gluten free grains, such as quinoa, teff, amaranth, etc., are a healthy addition to a gluten-free diet because they are high in fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. It is very important to choose gluten free grains labeled gluten-free since these grains can be easily contaminated by gluten-containing grains such as wheat, rye and barley.1

Dried and canned beans and legumes (lentils, split peas, and chick peas) are also nutritional powerhouses. More recently we have been able to find labeled gluten free canned and dried beans, (kidney, black, pinto, etc.) and legumes in the grocery stores and online. To prevent cross contact, do not purchase grains or beans, etc., from bulk bins. Purchase them in sealed packages labeled gluten-free. “Under GIPSA standards (Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration), lentils are allowed to contain a certain percentage of foreign grain, including wheat, barley, and rye.”2 So, whether you choose labeled or certified gluten-free dried beans, peas and legumes or not, it’s a good idea to spread them out on a cookie sheet and look for random grains of wheat, rye and barley.2 Rinse and drain them carefully. Rinse and drain canned ones, as well.

Check out glutenfreewatchdog.org for more information on foreign grains found in lentil packages (both certified packages and those labeled “naturally gluten-free food”).

  1. Thompson T, Lee AR, Grace T. Gluten Contamination of Grains, Seeds, and Flours in the United States: A Pilot Study. J Am Diet Assoc. 2010;110:937-940 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20497786
    (Summary) 
  2. Thompson, T. Gluten-Free Watchdog. General Product Warning: Check Your Lentils (including certified gluten-free lentils) for Foreign Grain. Dec 2016.
  3. Thompson, T. Gluten-Free Watchdog. More Foreign Grain Found in Edison Grainery Lentils. Gluten-Free Watchdog. Nov 2017.

Note: This information is provided by NCA and Melinda Dennis, NCA's Senior Consulting Dietitian. This information is meant for educational purposes and is not intended to substitute for personalized medical advice or replace any medical advice provided directly to you by your health care provider. This information can be printed and used in consultation with your physician or dietitian. No liability is assumed by NCA, Ms. Dennis or her nutrition consulting service Delete the Wheat, LLC. by providing this information..

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About Melinda Dennis MS, RDN, LDN

Melinda Dennis, Senior Nutrition Consultant for NCA, is an expert celiac dietitian and and Nutrition Coordinator for the Celiac Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA. Diagnosed with celiac disease in 1990, she specializes in the nutritional treatment of patients with celiac disease and gluten-related disorders. Melinda lectures internationally and has written extensively on the nutritional management of celiac disease including the award-winning book Real Life with Celiac Disease. Melinda was the original founder of NCA in 1993 and so it is only fitting that she comes back to us in this capacity. We are truly honored to have her on our team.