Traditionally, beers are made with gluten-containing cereals. It is crucial to have rapid analytical methodologies that allow gluten content control of the beers for celiac consumers. We assess the content of gluten in 65 conventional and 41 gluten-free labeled beers commercialized in Europe and compare the results in a subgroup of 71 beers with three ELISA kits. This research allows gathering information on the potential complementary utility of NIR analysis applied to gluten analysis of gluten-free beers in terms of time saving. Results obtained with the ELISA technique identified competitive R5 to be the most sensitive in detecting the prolamins, by eliciting a higher number of beers containing gluten above 20 mg/kg. The gluten content in conventional beers tested increased with the presence of wheat as raw material and with the use of ale-type yeasts. By using competitive R5, 3 out of the 41 gluten-free labeled beers appeared to contain gluten above 20 mg/kg, and conversely, 15 out of 65 of the conventional beers showed a gluten content below this threshold. According to our approaches, NIR did not achieve a suitable correlation with ELISA results, neither for gluten quantification nor for discrimination, and therefore, it cannot be proposed as a complementary technique.
Keywords: ELISA; NIR; beer; brewing; gluten; safety.