With the efforts to move away from plastic straws for environmental reasons, what are alternative straws made from, and do I need to be concerned they might contain gluten?
As a rule, anything that goes into the mouth should be evaluated for gluten content. Alternatives to plastic, like glass or stainless steel, are safely gluten-free. Some straws that are biodegradable, however, may include ingredients such as bamboo, corn starch, wheat straw, or sugar cane.
Before placing your order for a drink that’s likely to come with a straw, ask the staff what their straws are made from and whether they are gluten-free. Many brands of straws made from wheat straw are gluten-free because straw is the stalk left over after the gluten-containing grain is harvested. Some straws sourced from wheat straw have tested at levels below the FDA’s 20 ppm cut-off. Even though the potential for cross-contact exists, it is unlikely, yet it makes sense to be cautious and ask questions. If in doubt, reject the straw and drink straight from the glass.