Let’s talk about oats, shall we? Oats themselves are gluten-free, but may be contaminated by the process by which they are grown, transported, and manufactured. It used to be that In order for oats to be considered gluten-free, they must follow a purity protocol. This includes being grown, harvested, and processed in a gluten-free environment. Now there are several companies that have moved to using oats that have been mechanically or optically separated from gluten containing grains. The scary thing? These oats are still marked “gluten-free.”
Some of these companies are solely using the mechanically separated oats, while other may be using a combination of purity protocol oats and mechanically separated oats. In early November Tricia Thompson, of Gluten Free Watchdog, shared on her Facebook page that both Nature’s Path and Bob’s Red Mill were using mechanically separated oats in their gluten-free products. Quaker Oats is also using the same mechanically separated oats for their new gluten-free oatmeal.
So where does this leave us? All products labeled “gluten-free” must meet the FDA’s ruling of having less than 20 ppm gluten, but the way I understand it is that not every batch is tested. Each company has their own process and while some test every batch, some test a sampling of the batches and then use an average. If the products says, “no gluten ingredients used” they are exempt from the FDA’s ruling.
Eating oats on a gluten-free diet for those with Celiac Disease is a personal choice. This decision should be well thought out and discussed with your physician. If you go ahead and eat oats, pay attention to how you feel after you eat them and in the following days.
Do you eat oats? If so, do you eat purity protocol oats or any “gluten-free” oats?