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Gluten-free barley a golden opportunity for Finnish company

Golden Malt and Sejet expect the first barley crosses in autumn 2020.Adobe

Oulu, Finland-headquartered Golden Malt is looking to reap the benefits of the gluten-free strain of barley it has refined in co-operation with Sejet, the leading breeder of cereals in Denmark.

The co-operation promises to broaden the selection of gluten-free beers, breads, snacks and other drink and food products in Europe.

The world’s first gluten-free strain of barley was developed in Australia, but neither it nor any of the other strains available today is suitable for the growing conditions in Europe. Golden Malt and Sejet began the refining process this spring and expect to reap the first harvests of barley crosses this autumn.

“We have all the expertise and every opportunity to break through also to European markets,” declared Eero Nissilä, the managing director at Golden Malt.

Nissilä revealed the Australian strain was selected as the starting point because its genetical makeup makes it as easy and quick as possible to refine it into a strain with an extremely low gluten content that is suitable for Europe.

Tornion Panimo expects naturally gluten-free brews to become a hit product in the future. Image: Tornion Panimo

The goal of the refinement process is to achieve a gluten content of less than five parts per million, which is comfortably below the 20 parts-per-million limit set for gluten-free designation by the World Health Organization (WHO). Regulations in Europe similarly allow the marketing of such products as gluten free.

The first test batch of beer from naturally gluten-free barley has already been brewed by Tornion Panimo. The Finnish Lapland-based brewery said the beers were a success and should become a hit in the future.

“There is always demand for naturally gluten-free beers,” said Kaj Kostiander, the managing director at Tornion Panimo.

By: Aleksi Teivainen