Does Corn Gluten Show Up In Animal Products?

   Most livestock feed contains corn gluten feed (CGF) and corn gluten meal (CGM) but this does not impact humans who consume the meat, milk or eggs of those animals according to Randy Wiedmeier, livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.
   “I lady who was recently diagnosed with gluten intolerance called our office after reading feed ingredient tag on a bag of feed she had purchased for her calves,” said Wiedmeier. “She was concerned that this gluten might show up and make her sick.”
   Wiedmeier, who previously worked at a feed mill formulating feeds for livestock, says corn and its co-byproducts are gluten-free. Unlike wheat, barley, and rye, corn contains no gluten.
   “I have no idea regarding the origin of the terms corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal, but they are obviously misnomers,” said Wiedmeier. “Corn gluten meal is a byproduct of processing corn. There is no true gluten in corn but simply corn proteins.”
   Gluten intolerance is a complicated condition that impacts 13 to 15 percent of the population but to widely varying degrees ranging from an intolerance to the more serious celiac-sprue disease.
   Gluten is a protein that has “glue-like” properties that allows bread to rise and gives it flexible, non-crumbling characteristics. One of the problems with gluten is that humans have a difficult time digesting it. As a result, small fragments of gluten proteins (peptides) linger in the small intestine too long. This can result in the absorption of some of these gluten peptides into the body where they are recognized as “foreign invaders” resulting in a sometimes violent immunological response that damages the small intestine and sometimes other body organs.
   This does not happen to all people, but your doctor or a nutrition specialist can provide more insight or strategies for addressing gluten in your diet.   Additional information can be found online at
   “I assured this lady that it would be perfectly safe to consume meat, milk or eggs produces by farm animals consuming corn gluten feed or corn gluten meal,” said Wiedmeier.
   First, farm animals, especially ruminants like cattle, sheep, and goats, are much more efficient at digesting gluten than humans.
   “Second, components resulting from the digestion of gluten that are absorbed into the animal’s body are reassembled by the animal's metabolism into proteins specific to that animal, not back into gluten that would show up in the animal products,” said Wiedmeier. ∆
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