How PINES Wheat Grass Meets the FDA Gluten-Free Standard
LAWRENCE, KS – September 11, 2014 – Wheat is generally thought of as food with the highest level of gluten, but although it is counter-intuitive judging by the name alone, PINES Wheat Grass actually meets the FDA gluten-free standard because of the way it’s produced.
How can PINES Wheat Grass be gluten-free when many other products on the market that claim to be wheatgrass are not? The secret is in the timing of the harvest. According to PINES International Founder Ron Seibold, “Quality wheatgrass is planted in the fall in glacial soils that are found predominantly in the far northeastern corner of Kansas, northern Missouri and central Iowa. The glacial soil is still warm from summer yet the fall air temperatures are cold, sometimes even freezing. Warm soil and cold air in the fall is natural to winter wheat and induces the plant to grow roots a foot deep in the rich glacial soil. After a month, even with foot-deep roots, the plant only produces one or two inches of leaf above ground.”
The photo on the left shows healthy PINES wheatgrass at the jointing stage. The photo on the right shows what flag grass looks like; it is several weeks past the jointing stage. You can see, at the base of each stem, some dried grass. That was the wheatgrass! It has now been literally drained of its nutritional concentration.
After a winter of slow growth in often freezing temperatures, the wheatgrass reaches its nutritional peak the following spring. As long as the wheatgrass is harvested when it is still a short grass before it forms a stalk (called the ‘jointing’ stage) and the grass is cut off above the immature seed heads, it is still a dark green leafy vegetable and technically gluten-free. At this stage, the wheat plant is about eight to 10 inches tall, and the immature seed head is near the base of the plant, well below the cutting bars on the harvesting machines.
PINES International harvests approximately 500 pounds of wheatgrass per acre and conducts batch-testing to ensure its gluten-free promise. Other companies that let their wheatgrass grow past the jointing stage can produce 2,000 pounds or more per acre, but when the wheat plant is harvested after the seed head has started moving up the stalk, it is no longer wheatgrass. The nutrition in the wheatgrass has gone toward supplying the growing seed head with nourishment as it moves up the stalk.
When the wheat plant grows beyond the wheatgrass stage, it becomes “flag grass,” which is what the leaves that come off the stalk are called. In order to remove the stalk and seed head, some of these flag grass companies use a technique called “aspiration” to “blow off” the stalks and the seed head inside them. This helps to remove some of the gluten, but the product they are harvesting is not really wheatgrass.
The bottom line is if you are allergic to gluten or are on a gluten-free diet, you can safely and confidently use PINES Wheat Grass. PINES products are also Non-GMO Project Verified and certified organic.
PINES Wheat Grass – along with their full product line including PINES Beet Juice Powder, Alfalfa, Barley and much more – is available at premium health and natural retail stores. Click here to find a location near you. PINES products are also available online at www.wheatgrass.com/c-5-pines-
ABOUT PINES INTERNATIONAL
Founded in 1976, PINES International (www.wheatgrass.com) is a successful natural products company, still owned by the original founders and families. PINES Wheat and Barley Grass tablets and powders and other premium products are found in over 7,000 health food stores nationwide, and exported to more than 20 foreign countries. PINES products are made with the utmost care, with the focus on creating and maintaining maximum nutritional value every step of the way. Beyond that, their goal is to have minimal negative impact on our environment, and where possible, restore and protect what has been damaged by the shortsighted farming and development activities of others.
PINES – Keep It Simple, Keep It Clean, Keep It Green!™