Q: I recently became aware that my child's after school program used wheat straw in their outdoor play area. I doubt parents think of straw as a problem in the outdoor environment. I did not see much on the internet about this type of exposure. I'm guessing many parents would not think of this.
Great question, I can understand your concern. Wheat straw is usually a harvest byproduct leftover after wheat has been thrashed and the grain (gluten-containing part) removed. The straw itself does not contain gluten. However, there might be a risk of cross-contact from leftover grain, so I would not recommend that a child with celiac disease gets straw or hay in their mouth. However, just touching it should be fine as gluten cannot penetrate the skin. I would also recommend to wash hands after handling straw or hay, especially before eating.
Note: This information is provided by NCA and Katarina Mollo MEd, RDN, LDN, NCA's Director of Education. This information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for personalized medical advice or replace any medical advice provided directly to you by your health care provider. No liability is assumed by the NCA or Katarina Mollo, MEd, RDN, LDN by providing this information.