It's time to bust another myth: Is Corona gluten-free? I will get straight to the point... no. Corona is not gluten-free. A look at the facts surrounding this seemingly controversial topic.
It's not hard to find all sorts of disinformation on the internet. Lately, the topic of discussion has been Corona beer. Lots of folks seem to think it's ok to consume it, or at least say they consume it "without issues." Here's the problem... Corona beer is most certainly not gluten-free.
Sadly a simple search of, "is corona gluten-free" yields results in the top 3 positions of Google, all with inaccurate information:
- All three tout that corona contains less than 20 ppm of gluten so it is "technically gluten-free."
- One person "found that she can drink two with no apparent issues."
- Another, a board-certified holistic nutritionist, advocates that the beer is ok to drink "at your discretion" because according to her test, the beer was below 20ppm, therefore would comply with the gluten-free labeling laws and provided a link to the FDA.
There are problems with each of the above statements which I will discuss later but please don't be misled. The fact remains, Corona beer is not gluten-free and it is definitely not safe for those with Celiac Disease.
The truth straight from Corona
Don't just take my word for the fact that corona is not gluten-free, let's go straight to the source, Corona. Below is a screenshot taken directly from their customer FAQ page:
Did you read that? There are traces of gluten in all of our beers. Period.
Some might argue that traces of gluten could be below 20ppm, but how would we know if that's true? Well, we could test it, which it seems some have tried to do, but there's a huge problem with that, which Corona acknowledges in the above statement.
Problems with testing beer for gluten
You can't just test a beer for gluten and call it a day. This is because the gold standard test for detecting gluten in foods is not able to accurately detect the level of gluten in beer. Why is that?
- Gluten in beer is broken down into fragments during the fermenting process.
- The test can only reliably detect gluten that is intact.
- While the test may be able to detect some gluten fragments, there is no way of knowing how accurate the result is.
- Therefore, using these tests to detect gluten in beer can lead to false negatives. This means you could get a result of <20ppm but the actual level of gluten in the product is much higher.
While I can see how some might find gluten test kits and sensors helpful, misusing them and sharing the information is downright dangerous.
Corona cannot be labeled gluten-free
Furthermore, Carona beer can not be labeled gluten-free, even if you could accurately state that it contained less than 20ppm of gluten. Here's why:
- Traditional beers, beverages made with malted barley and hops, fall under the jurisdiction of the TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau), not the FDA.
- According to the TTB, traditional beer can not be labeled "gluten-free" if it is made with a gluten-containing grain, like barley. They made this decision under the guidance of the FDA rules and the lack of appropriate testing methods.
- Corona is made with barley, therefore it could not be labeled gluten-free under U.S. law.
Anecdotal evidence is not sufficient
Factual information aside, anecdotal evidence of "feeling fine," does not mean that damage isn't being done to your body nor is it evidence that the beer doesn't contain gluten.
Barley does contain gluten and should be avoided, especially if you have Celiac Disease. The persons who "feel fine" after drinking regular beer may not have noticeable symptoms, but the damage to the intestines is likely still happening.
I certainly can't tell you what to do with your body, but I can tell you that Corona is not gluten-free. Corona even states that there is gluten in their beer. At this time, there is no standard test or reliable way of knowing the actual levels of gluten in regular beer. For that reason, regular beer, including Corona, can not be labeled "gluten-free" in the U.S. since it is brewed with glutenous grains, like barley. While you may not feel the effects outwardly, you should still avoid drinking Corona if you are adhering to a gluten-free diet.
- Corona Beer: Our Cervesas FAQ
- R-biopharm: Gluten-free beer: A Practical Guide for Your Brewery
- FDA: Proposed Rule for Gluten-Free Labeling of Fermented or Hydrolyzed Foods
- TTB: Use of "Gluten‐Free" on TTB‐Regulated Alcohol Beverages
- University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center: FAQ regarding Barley Consumption
- Gluten-free Living: Does Beer Contain Gluten?
- VerywellFit: Are Light Beers Really Gluten-Free?
Want to read some more myth-busting? Go read all about shredded cheese!