Straws

2
Katarina Mollo MEd, RDN, LDN

Q: I've been reading a lot about plastic straws being swapped out for wheat/pasta/gluten-containing straws. Are most non-plastic straws made from a wheat ingredient? Being a celiac, is this one more thing we need to be aware of when dining out?

Answer


As we have become more aware of the negative environmental impacts of plastic straws, other alternatives have entered the market. Unfortunately, some of the eco-friendly straws may contain gluten, and this presents new challenges for those of us with celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders.

Straws to avoid:

  • Straws made from wheat or rye straw (these are the stems of the wheat or rye plant, the stem does not naturally contain gluten, however there is a very high risk of cross-contact, stay tuned for test results on wheat straws.)
  • Pasta straws
  • Cookie straws

So far in my research I have not found any of the paper straws to contain gluten. According to Tricia Thompson from Gluten-Free Watchdog there is no evidence that paper straws contain wheat starch.

Tips to stay safe:

  1. Avoid using straws, it is better for the environment, all forms of straws are still going to be a burden on the environment. Most of the time straws are optional, when placing an order, tell staff you do not want a straw.
  2. Ask about what type of straws they use when you place your order so you can look up if it is gluten-free. Ask about the manufacturer so you can contact them directly.
  3. Use straws made from GF materials such as plastic, bamboo, stainless steel, silica or glass.
  4. Bring your own straws with you to a restaurant. Luckily straws are easy to keep on-the-go.

References:

Kelley F. Eco-Friendly Straws and Gluten. Celiac Kids Connection Website. Published January 21, 2019. https://www.celiackidsconnection.org/2019/01/21/eco-friendly-straws-and-gluten/ . Accessed September 24, 2019.

Global Citizen. 7 Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Plastic Straws to Help Save the Oceans. Global Citizen Website. Published July 10, 2017.

https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/alternatives-to-plastic-straws-eco-friendly/

Accessed September 24, 2019.

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.

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