This question has been asked countless times over the years. Until now, we have not had any concrete answers.
All too often the gluten-free community runs into restaurants using the same deep frier for gluten items and their gluten-free items. Of course, we know this practice is not acceptable for those requiring truly gluten-free foods, but the uneducated think otherwise.
This study appearing at the International Celiac Symposium 2017 India, shows it's quite difficult to destroy gluten with temperatures used in customary cooking methods. And when it is destroyed, it's not safe to eat [not that gluten is safe to eat in its uncarbonized state...]
Rodriguez Herrera A2, Garcia Sanchez M2, Lamprea Moruno M2, Monje J3, Comino I1
1 Facultad de Farmacia, Spain, 2 IHP Group, Spain, 3 Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Spain
Verify effective elimination of Gluten Immunogenic Peptides (GIP) by home cooking techniques.
Batches of samples of gluten containing flour, potatoes, and potatoes plus flour matched to controls were tested. Each batch was cooked in laboratory by use of electric stove, gas stove, oil deep fryer, induction stove and water bath and was cooked at temperature range from 91-233°C (196-452 F) for 5 up to 30 minutes. GIP content was tested by GlutenTox® Sticks (KT- 5340 Biomedal Diagnostics) based on antibody G12.
On gas stove was necessary to keep 233 °C (451 °F) for 10 minutes to have absence of GIP detection.
In range 190-200°C (374-392°F) incubation for 30 minutes was needed to have absence of GIP detection. Tests in temperatures below 190°C (374°F) showed presence of GIP at 10 and 20 minutes.
On induction stove temperature up to 246°C (475°F) for 6 minutes was needed to have negativity to GIP.
Lower temperature ranges in spite of extended time up to 30 minutes were unable to get negative GIP. In oven processing never was got negative GIP signal, in spite of processing up to 210°C (410°F) and extended incubation time up to 45 minutes.
Samples processed on electric stove, water bath and deep frying showed presence of GIP in all ranges of time and temperature.
It is not realistic the elimination of gluten (GIP) at home kitchen by heat as temperatures higher that 200°C (392°F) are needed. Extended processing time is no compatible with conventional recipes. Fat processing over 200 is link with toxic metabolites generation which may be harmful. Use of oven or deep frying without proper cleaning may transfer GIP to meals when previously gluten containing meals were processed in these appliances.
Some turkeys are not gluten-free. Always check the ingredient list! If you are unsure, call the manufacturer and ask questions.
Be aware that the US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) regulates labeling for meat, poultry, egg products. USDA regulations for labeling allergens [like wheat] are not the same as the FDA regulations. Companies may voluntarily comply with FDA regs, but they are not required to disclose wheat, or barley, rye, or oats or any derivatives.
If you are making a turkey for a gluten-free guest, please read our Guide to Gluten Cross Contamination. They'll love you even more!
If this is your first gluten-free holiday season, you might check out our Navigating The Holidays article for some hints and tips.
"For many, the holiday season is filled with smiles, laughter and lots of merriment. However, for those with dietary restrictions, it can be the complete opposite – fear, dread and lots of worriment."
Looking for some holiday recipes?
Check out some of our favorites.
Gluten-Free Holiday Dinner Guide - complete with a few recipes!
INCREDIBLY EASY GLUTEN FREE TURKEY GUIDENeed to prepare a gluten-free holiday dinner? Butterball can help! Our Butterball fresh and frozen raw unstuffed turkeys are always gluten-free, and our gravy pack included with our Butterball Whole and Boneless Breast items is also gluten-free. And for all the trimmings, check out the recipes below to find a variety of gluten-free side dishes and desserts sure to please all your holiday guests. For a detailed explanation on our gluten-free products, visit Are Butterball Turkeys Gluten Free on our Frequently Asked Questions Page.Q: ARE BUTTERBALL TURKEYS GLUTEN FREE?A: All of the Butterball products are gluten free except for Butterball Stuffed Turkey (bread stuffing) and Butterball Frozen Meatballs. For our products that are packaged with gravy packets, the gravy packets are gluten free as well. The gravy contains rice flour instead of wheat flour and the modified food starch is corn based.
Gluten-Free Butterball Turkeys:
Fresh L'il Butterball
Frozen Whole Turkey
Frozen L'il Butterball
Frozen Fully Cooked Smoked Turkey
Frozen Fully Cooked Baked Turkey
Butterball lists several gluten free products on their website. Type type "gluten-free" into their "Search for a product" text box and click Search
Do your hams or turkey breast contain glutens?
Do your hams or turkey breast contain glutens? Our hams and turkey breasts DO NOT contain glutens.
Honeysuckle White Whole Turkeys:
Fully Cooked Oven Roasted Whole Turkey
Fresh Whole Turkey
Frozen Whole Turkey
Oven Roasted Fully Cooked All Vegetarian/No Antibiotics Ever Whole Turkey
All Vegetarian Fed/No Antibiotics Ever Fresh Whole Turkey
Frozen All Vegetarian Fed/No Antibiotics Ever Whole Turkey
Bone-in Turkey Breasts:
Frozen Bone-In Turkey Breast with Gravy (Gravy made with rice flour)
Fully Cooked Hickory Smoked Bone-In Turkey Breast
Bone-In Turkey Breast
Honeysuckle While offers several gluten-free products, however, you have to check each product.
Jenni-O is a Hormel Company. Hormel will clearly gluten (wheat, barley/malt, rye, oats).
Although our products are labeled in compliance with government regulations, we believe the best practice is for you to read the labels on the products to determine if the food product meets your required needs. Parents and individuals with food allergies and/or food intolerances are responsible for reading the label of all products they intend to use regardless of how the product is represented on this site. To help those dealing with gluten sensitivity or allergies, we have a provided a list detailing the wide range of products we offer that are gluten-free.If you have any questions we would to talk to you. Please call our Customer Service Representatives at 1-800-523-4635 or submit your question online.
Hormel's Gluten-Free List (See Jenni-O Brand)
Tender & Juicy Young Turkey (Gravy packet contains gluten)
Fresh All Natural Young Turkey
Premium Fresh Young Turkey
Smoked Whole Turkey
Premium Fresh All Natural RWOA Young Turkey
Oven Roasted Whole Turkey
Extra Lean Turkey Breast Cutlets
Extra Lean Boneless Turkey Breast Tenderloins
Extra Lean Oven Roasted Turkey Breast
Extra Lean Hickory Smoked Turkey Breast
OVEN READY™ Bone-In Turkey Breast
OVEN READY™ Boneless Turkey Breast
Turkey Breast Roast
Tender & Juicy Young Turkey Breast
Oven Roasted Turkey Breast
Smoked Turkey Breast
Cajun Style Turkey Breast
Split Turkey Breasts
Jennie-O has many items on their gluten-free list.
Gluten-free products from website using their Filters. See Preferences in the left side bar - select Gluten-Free.
• HARVESTLAND® ORGANIC CHICKEN & APPLE SAUSAGE
• HARVESTLAND® ORGANIC GLUTEN FREE GRILLED CHICKEN BREAST STRIPS
• HARVESTLAND® ORGANIC ITALIAN STYLE CHICKEN SAUSAGE
• HARVESTLAND® ORGANIC SPINACH CHICKEN SAUSAGE
• INDIVIDUALLY FROZEN BONELESS, SKINLESS CHICKEN BREASTS (3 LBS.)
• SHORT CUTS® CARVED CHICKEN BREAST, GRILLED FAJITA STYLE (9 OZ.)
• SHORT CUTS® CARVED CHICKEN BREAST, ROTISSERIE SEASONED, (9 OZ.)
• SHORT CUTS® CARVED CHICKEN BREAST, GRILLED (9 OZ.)
• SHORT CUTS® CARVED CHICKEN BREAST, GRILLED FAJITA STYLE, (26 OZ.)
• SHORT CUTS® CARVED CHICKEN BREAST, GRILLED ITALIAN STYLE (9 OZ.)
• SHORT CUTS® CARVED CHICKEN BREAST, GRILLED, (16 OZ.)
• SHORT CUTS® CARVED CHICKEN BREAST, HONEY ROASTED (9 OZ.)
• SHORT CUTS® CARVED CHICKEN BREAST, ORIGINAL ROASTED (26 OZ.)
• SHORT CUTS® CARVED CHICKEN BREAST, ORIGINAL ROASTED (9 OZ.)
• SHORT CUTS® CARVED CHICKEN BREAST, SOUTHWESTERN STYLE (9 OZ.)
• SHORT CUTS® CARVED TURKEY BREAST, OVEN ROASTED (8 OZ.)
• SIMPLY SMART® BREADED CHICKEN BREAST TENDERS, GLUTEN FREE (22 OZ.), FROZEN
• SIMPLY SMART® GLUTEN FREE BREADED CHICKEN BREAST TENDERS (11.2 OZ.)
• SIMPLY SMART® LEMON AND HERB CHICKEN STRIPS (8 OZ.)
• SIMPLY SMART® LIGHTLY BREADED CHICKEN NUGGETS - GLUTEN FREE
Perdue has many GFCO Certified products. You can find them on GFCO's Certified Product List - January 2017 PDF Format
Should you have further questions, please feel free to contact a consumer representative at 1-800-473-7383 Monday through Friday 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM ET, or email us at www.Perdue.com.
Is your turkey gluten free?Yes, our turkey is gluten free and casein free. However, our turkey gravy and our homestyle dressing contain wheat. Our marinated teriyaki turkey tenderloins contain soy. Please read the ingredients labels.
Frozen Hotel-Style Bone-In Turkey Breast
Hotel-Style Bone-In Turkey Breast
Bone-In Turkey Breast (3% Basted)
Bone-In Turkey Breast (0% Basted)
An extensive list of companies
At this stage of the game, you’ve probably heard about some type of low or no carb diet template. As the name suggests, these diets remove all grains - yes, even the gluten-free grains.
Grain-free diets are known by several different names: Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), Caveman, Ancestral, Paleolithic, Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet (GAPS), Autoimmune Paleo Diet (AIP), Wheat Belly.
These diets tout a host of benefits that extend beyond a traditional gluten-free diet. Many members of the gluten-free community feel best when they’re grain-free as well.
By definition, grain-free should be gluten-free. “Gluten” is the generic name for the various proteins found in grains. You ditch the grains, you ditch the gluten. It’s a no-brainer! Um, not so fast Slick…
The purpose of this article is to make you aware of an important fact that is not always discussed by the proponents of grain-free diets.
Don't be lulled into a false sense of gluten-free safety by a grain-free food - even though it may be “Paleo Certified”. Sure, the food itself may be naturally gluten-free, but gluten-cross contamination could still be a threat. My concern is for those who may not know to be concerned about cross contact. The unknowing may wonder why they’re not feeling better while being grain-free due to gluten contamination.
Almond flour, coconut flour, chick pea flour, flax seeds (whole or ground), whole nuts of all kinds, herbs, spices, and seasonings are some of the popular ingredients in many grain-free foods. Sure, those are all single ingredient foods - but if these foods are ground, processed, packaged on lines used for gluten containing foods, then the end product could have detrimental levels of gluten.
The bottom-line for those with gluten-related disorders who want to be grain-free - make sure your grain-free foods/ingredients are labeled or certified gluten-free.
GIG of ECW Branch Manager
May Contain, Manufactured in a facility, etc
Voluntary Food Allergen Advisory Statements
Updated March 30th 2018
I've added the Allergen Advisory Statements Study that was published in Sept. 2016.
You may find a product labeled “Gluten-Free and Wheat-Free” that bears a GFCO gluten-free certification logo, but, it also has a “May contain traces of” statement that includes wheat. WHOA!
Believe it or not, this product is in compliance with current FDA Food Allergen Labeling and consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA) labeling laws. “May Contain”, “Processed in the same facility as”, or “Processed on the same equipment as” are known as Food Allergen Advisory statements. They are voluntary and are not regulated, unlike the required “Contains” statement for food allergen ingredients. According to the FDA, companies may use advisory statements as long as they are “truthful and not misleading”.
For years, the gluten-free community has been warned about using advisory statements for determining the gluten-free status. Their usefulness is diminished due to the lack of definition and regulation.
We covered this information in our March 19th 2011 newsletter and meeting, but it bears repeating. In 2010, HealthNow hosted their 2nd Annual Gluten Sensitivity & Celiac Forum. Cynthia Kupper, RD, GIG Executive Director was a featured speaker. She was asked this question during her Q&A session:
Q: The ingredient list contains no gluten, but there's a statement about “Processed in the same facility as...”or “Processed on the same equipment as...” what do you do? A: That’s a voluntary advisory statement designed for people with IgE allergies. Many companies use it as a “CYA”. No meaning for celiacs. A group of RD's determined that it would reckless of them to suggest that statement should be used to determine gluten-free status. If you have an IgE (anaphylactic reaction), you need to think about it.A "Contains..." statement is an allergen statement and required by law. "May Contain" is not an allergen statement.”
Source: 2010 HealthNow Gluten Sensitivity & Celiac Forum DVD
Check out this example of Aldi's Baker's Corner Instant Pudding. After the ingredient list, you'll see a statement that reads: "MANUFACTURED IN A FACILITY THAT USES TREE NUTS, SOY, MILK, AND WHEAT."
Update: While it may still be gluten-free, this product is no longer labeled gluten-free.
I reached out to Aldi's to ask about this product. On May 15th, 2015, the Quality Control Supervisor from Subco Foods in Sheboygan, WI (the company that does the pudding) called me. I asked about the production lines for this product - did they run any gluten products on this line?
Tamela’s answer was very thorough! The pudding lines are dedicated - only pudding is done on them - nothing else - no gluten. They test raw materials for gluten coming into the plant - they test during production and they also send samples out to a private lab for finished product testing. Between pudding flavor runs (vanilla/chocolate/etc), they follow a strict teardown and cleaning process. They are very serious about food allergens.
Also the pudding lines are isolated from their jello lines. She said they do not want dairy getting into the jello lines.
So, what do we do with products like this? Call the manufacturer to ask questions. Ask about the facilities, the production lines, and their policies and procedures for allergen handling. If they do not answer the questions to your satisfaction, find another manufacturer with a similar product that does meet your needs.
Read more: Updates:
Building upon their 2016 paper [see below], Tricia Thompson, Amy Keller, and Trisha B. Lyons published "When foods contain both a gluten-free claim and an allergen advisory statement for wheat: should consumers be concerned?" on March 26, 2018 in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
This retrospective database analysis included a total of 328 gluten-free labeled products previously tested for gluten content by Gluten-Free Watchdog.
Here's what they found…
On the basis of this retrospective data analysis, the use of allergen advisory statements (regardless of type) on foods labeled gluten-free was not indicative that a food was out of compliance with the gluten-free label ing rule. Due to the current lack of federal regulations for allergen advisory statements, consumers with celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders should not make gluten-free purchasing decisions based solely on the presence or absence of an allergen advisory statement for wheat.
One issue that may be causing mistrust among gluten-free consumers when products contain both a gluten-free claim and a precautionary statement for wheat is the lack of required testing for foods labeled gluten-free. In the US,while foods must contain <20 p.p.m. of gluten to be labeled gluten-free, testing is not included in the FDA’s codiﬁed rule.
Increased education is needed to advise consumers that a gluten-free claim applies to gluten that may be in a product due to ingredients and cross-contact. Under the gluten-free labeling rule, a gluten-free claim on product packaging means the food must comply with all criteria of the rule,including containing <20 p.p.m. of gluten. This is true regardless of the presence or absence of an allergen advisory statement for wheat .
When combining the results of both studies…
4/45 (9%) products that DID include an allergen advisory statement for wheat or gluten on product packaging contained quantifiable gluten.
52/384 (14%) products that did NOT include an allergen advisory statement for wheat or gluten on product packaging contained quantifiable gluten.
The FDA should strongly consider regulating allergen advisory statements, especially in light of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
Tricia Thompson, Trisha B. Lyons, and Amy Jones analyzed allergen advisory statements of 101 products previously tested for gluten content by Gluten-Free Watchdog. These products were not labeled gluten-free, however the ingredient list did not include any gluten containing ingredients (no wheat, barley, rye, malt, or brewers yeast).
On September 14th 2016, they published Allergen Advisory Statements for Wheat: NOT a Useful Predictor of Gluten Content.
Here's what they found…
In this database review, precautionary labeling for wheat or gluten on products not labeled gluten-free but appearing to be free of gluten-containing ingredients was NOT a useful predictor of gluten content. In some cases, consumer reliance on precautionary statements for wheat or gluten could have resulted in choosing a product contaminated with gluten.
• 87/101 (86%) products tested for gluten did NOT include an allergen advisory statement for wheat or gluten on product packaging.
• Fourteen products (14%) tested for gluten DID include an allergen advisory statement for wheat or gluten on product packaging.
• Of the 87 products that did NOT include an advisory statement, 13 (15%) contained quantifiable gluten at or above 5 ppm including 4 products (5%) that tested at or above 20 ppm of gluten.
• Of the 14 products that DID include an advisory statement, only 1 (7%) contained quantifiable gluten at or above 5 ppm.
On the basis of this analysis, the current use of allergen advisory statements for wheat or gluten are not useful predictors of whether or not a single or multi-ingredient food product contains 20 or more p.p.m. of gluten. Precautionary statements should be regulated and standardized so that they are helpful to the consumer.
In terms of foods labeled gluten-free, consumers are advised to trust the label regardless of allergen advisory statements for wheat or gluten. This is due to the gluten-free labeling rule applying to both gluten in ingredients and gluten that may be found in a product due to cross contact. However, when it comes to foods not labeled gluten-free but appearing to be "gluten-free" based on ingredients, there are no established guidelines for individuals with celiac disease on whether they should avoid products with allergen advisory statements for wheat or gluten.
Increased education is also required to let consumers know that FALCPA includes ingredients only and does not include allergens that may be in a product unintentionally due to cross contact. Increased education is also needed to let consumers know that a gluten-free label applies to gluten that may be in a product due to ingredients and cross contact and that regardless of the source of gluten the product must contain less than 20 p.p.m. gluten.
To learn more about this confusing matter, please watch these excellent Q&A videos from Gluten-Free Watchdog.
3/30/18 - Updated to include "When foods contain both a gluten-free claim and an allergen advisory statement for wheat…" paper
10/20/16 - Updated to include "Allergen advisory statements for wheat: do they help US consumers with celiac disease make safe food choices?"
updated 04/20/17 - Add Healio article "Oats appear safe for patients with celiac disease" .
updated 04/11/17 - Add GIG's Purity Protocol definition.
updated 03/02/17 - Added Trader Joes GF Rolled Oats to Purity Protocol Heros
updated 01/25/17 - Added Gluten-Free Watchdog's Updated Position Statement on Oats
updated 01/05/17 - Add more Gluten-Free Watchdog links
updated 10/28/16 - Added video and Dietitians in Gluten Intolerance Diseases (DIGID) Oats handout
updated 06/08/16 - Added Bakery on Main to Purity Protocol Rebels
updated 05/18/16 - Added GFW oat product analysis.
More on that later, but first a little background information on said ingredient of discussion.
Oats have been controversial for over 20 years. Are they acceptable on a GF diet or not?
Many in the gluten-free community would beg to differ with that recommendation because they react to gluten-free oats as well. Those in the grain-free/low-carb community offer convincing evidence that supports their lifestyle too.
Regular followup testing is also advised to make sure intestinal damage is not occurring. For those newly diagnosed, it’s suggested to restrict the use of oats for up to one year.
Also be aware that some celiacs react to the protein found in oats [known as avenin] just as they react to the proteins in wheat, barley, rye.
If you know they cause you discomfort, do not eat them.
The experts who recommend oats, all agree that only pure, uncontaminated gluten-free oats be used - no commercial oats allowed.
Why? Cross contamination with gluten [wheat, barley, rye].
A 2004 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine reveals "regular" oats should not be considered safe for those requiring a gluten-free diet. Four different lots from three different companies found gluten content ranging from less than 3 parts per million to 1807 parts per million. Gluten Contamination of Commercial Oat Products in the United States by Tricia Thompson, MS, RD
Update January 5th, 2017 - Tricia, founder of Gluten-Free Watchdog, shares another article from PepsiCo (owners of Quaker Oats brand) about testing oats.
PepsiCo scientists recently published a second article in the scientific peer-reviewed literature on the difficulties associated with testing oats for gluten contamination. This article entitled “Kernel-based gluten contamination of gluten-free oatmeal complicates gluten assessment as it causes binary-like test outcomes” compliments their first article entitled, “Gluten-containing grains skew gluten assessment in oats due to sample grind non-homogeneity.”Bottom Line. Based on the findings of the research by scientists from PepsiCo, Gluten Free Watchdog calls on ALL suppliers and manufacturers of gluten-free oats whether purity protocol or mechanically/optically sorted, and their certifying bodies to reevaluate their testing methodology and requirements for certification, respectively.
Recommendation. The situation with oats continues to evolve. As mentioned above, Gluten Free Watchdog’s position statement on oats will be updated in the near future. In the meantime, my advice is:
Choose your oat products based on your comfort level with regard to the level of information provided to you by manufacturers. You may want to consider the following:
Do they disclose their testing protocols?
Do they disclose the assay they use to test oats for gluten contamination?
If a manufacturer refuses to answer any of these questions or responds by saying the information is proprietary, the advice of Gluten Free Watchdog is to move on to another company.
Read More: http://bit.ly/2iePfrv
Quaker's first article on oat testing: http://bit.ly/2hX1JpU
Update May 18th, 2016 - Mining through five years of testing, Gluten-Free Watchdog finds oat products are at higher risk of gluten contamination compared to gluten-free labeled foods as a whole. 35 products containing oats as first or second ingredient were tested. Analysis shows:
- 28 of 35 (80%) of oat products tested below 5 parts per million of gluten.
- 5 of 35 (14%) of oat products contained 20 ppm of gluten or more.
- 2 or 35 (6%) of oat products contained more than 5 ppm but less than 20 ppm of gluten.
- Approximately 5% of all gluten-free labeled foods tested at or above 20 ppm of gluten vs 14% of oat products.
Update October 28th, 2016 - Dietitians in Gluten Intolerance Diseases (DIGID) held a breakfast meeting at this year's Food & Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE). Topic: Oats.
This event was sponsored by purity protocol oats producer, GF Harvest Oats. GF Harvest Oats owner, Seaton Smith was the keynote speaker. A mechanically & optically sorted oats supplier was also asked to participate, but declined to speak. Tricia Thompson, RD, MS of Gluten-Free Watchdog volunteered to present information about sorted oats.
Tricia was kind enough for create a video to accompany the DIGID oats meeting handout. Please have the handout open while watching the video.
- Basic definitions.
- Background information on gluten contamination levels found within commercial oats.
- Gluten content testing results of oats.
- Testing protocols of millers of mechanically sorted oats (Quaker, General Mills/Cheerios, Grain Millers, La Crosse Milling).
- A PepsiCo Inc./Quaker Foods and Snacks (QFS) study on testing oats for gluten content. This important study reveals the difficulties in testing grains for gluten. Bottom line: Final product testing for oats must be extensive! For an easy-to-understand write up on this study (and links to actual study), please check out "Must Read Study Courtesy of Quaker on Testing Oats for Gluten" by Tricia Thompson, RD
OK - back to the issue at hand…
Shortly after Cheerios announced their recall of 1.8 million boxes due to gluten contamination, Quaker Oats announced they will now be offering “gluten-free" oat products.
Like General Mills, Quaker Oats will not be using oats grown/harvested/transported using a purity protocol. They are using regular oats that will be "cleaned" via mechanical or optical sorting methods.
Quaker Oats have also opted for the optical and mechanical sorting methods (aka “proprietary”) of removing gluten grains from their oats. However, Quaker Oats reportedly have instituted better testing protocols than their competitor.
Quaker Oats describes their gluten-free oats processing and testing protocols to Gluten Free Watchdog: http://bit.ly/1OiMboT
Purity Protocol Heros
Tricia Thompson, RD, founder of Gluten Free Watch Dog started building a list of companies that produce and use purity protocol oats.
Purity Protocol Oats List includes:
Marshall Gluten-Free Milling
Montana Gluten-Free Processors
Trader Joes GF Rolled Oats
For a detail description of their policies & procedures, and their products, see Gluten-Free Watchdog's webpage:
It didn’t go unnoticed that a few popular gluten free companies are missing from the list above.
Why the fuss over Purity Protocol Oats? Again, it goes back to [the lack of] cross contamination with gluten [wheat, barley, rye].
For years, the gluten-free community have been told to only use pure, certified gluten-free oats due to the gluten contamination risks. In the past, this meant acceptable oats were produced and processed according to a purity protocol similar to the one described above.
Most recently, it's been difficult to determine the pedigree of oats used in a product. Companies do not always give clear answers when asked about the oats in their products. As some of the manufacturer's statements have shown (see below), they are using a combination of purity protocol oats and "cleaned" oats, or straight "cleaned" oats.
For a more detailed look at this aspect, please read Gluten-Free Watchdog's "Gluten-free oat production: Purity protocol versus mechanical or optical sorting: Does it matter to you?"
Purity Protocol Rebels
Below is a list companies using "cleaned" oats, according to Gluten-Free Watchdog's list.
Bakery On Main, based in East Hartford, CT
"A brand and communications marketing associate responded in part (via email on May 22, 2016), “Bakery On Main’s top priority has always been to provide great tasting products that all those with Celiac Disease can trust and know are safe. We recently decided to soon begin using the mechanically sorted oats in some of our products only due to the fact that the supplier that we will be working with has been third party certified gluten free by the GFCO.” Please contact Bakery On Main for more information."
Bob’s Red Mill, based in Milwaukie, OR
They first describe their gluten-free product protocol:
“For all of our gluten free products, we thoroughly batch test every product in our quality control laboratory upon delivery, during production and after packaging. We adhere to a standard of no more than 19 parts per million of gluten. Should a test show that a product exceeds that limit, it would be simply rejected and made unavailable for distribution to anyone. Every step in the production of our gluten free products is done in a separate gluten free packaging division complete with specialized machinery to make sure that our products maintain their purity.”
Then their oats (note, they use both purity protocol oats and optically sorted oats):
“Oats require special care to ensure that they are safely free from gluten. Bob’s Red Mill only sources from oat suppliers who are committed to practices for eliminating the presence of gluten.Our suppliers are innovative in controlling the presence of gluten by either avoiding crop rotation with gluten containing grains or using optical sorting technology to remove grain containing gluten. Regardless of our suppliers’ chosen methods for meeting our gluten free specification, we require that each lot is tested and confirmed gluten free before authorization for shipment to Bob’s Red Mill. To ensure that they stay just as gluten free as the day their seedlings sprouted from the earth, we test each batch in our quality control laboratory when they arrive from the farm, during production and once again after they are packaged in our dedicated gluten free facility.”
Nature's Path, based in Richmond, British Columbia Canada
They describe their oats:
“This is to confirm that Natures Path Foods has purchased the Country Choice brand name from Grain Millers. Grain Millers continue to be the supplier of our gluten free oats.”
Grain Millers have been mechanically separating oats since 2012, according to Gluten Free Watchdog.
Cream Hill Estates, based in LaSalle, Québec Canada
“Cream Hill Estates sources our gluten-free oats from a mill that successfully uses extensive mechanical and optical sorting to minimize the likelihood of gluten cross-contamination in their products.
The mill uses both select commodity and purity protocol oats and does frequent sampling throughout the process from arrival of the oats at the mill to finished product, and we are satisfied that cleaning, sorting, sampling and testing at the mill produce gluten-content results that are well within acceptable limits for celiac disease (CD) and wheat sensitive consumers, including CD members in our own family.
The mill provides us with test results for each lot number, an 1,800 pound tote bag, and we also do random independent third-party gluten testing of representative samples obtained by us from those totes.
Test results from the mill and from third-party testing are always less than 10 parts per million (ppm) of gluten with the vast majority being less than 5ppm using S-ELISA and R5-ELISA test methodologies.
Our products are certified gluten-free by the Gluten Free Certification Organization (GFCO).
Our dedicated gluten-free manufacturing and packaging facility in Montreal is also free from any of the top 8 food allergens identified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the 10 priority food allergens identified by Health Canada.
As a finished food supplier to consumers and an ingredient supplier to manufacturers, we guarantee the purity of our products.”
Quaker Oats based in Chicago, IL
Quaker Gluten-Free Oatmeal
Quaker uses traditionally grown oats that have been mechanically and optically sorted to be gluten-free.
Finished product testing (as reported to Gluten Free Watchdog and confirmed July, 2016)
A 40-gram sample is taken from each pouch or tube.
The sample is homogenized.
Two extractions are taken from the homogenized sample and tested using the Ridascreen Gliadin R5 ELISA (R7001) Mendez Method.
If any single extraction from any of the 16 pouches or tubes is above 12 ppm gluten the entire lot is discarded.
Since beginning commercial runs, three early runs were above 12 ppm gluten and these lots were destroyed. Since taking corrective action, 25 additional lots have been run. All but one extraction from finished product gluten-free oatmeal tested below 5 ppm gluten; one extraction tested just above the lower limit of quantification of 5 ppm gluten (6 ppm).
UPDATE Jan 20, 2016: In email correspondence, Quaker writes, “we have continued to implement the testing protocol we shared with you for finished product. Out of our last 50 lots produced, we have had one lot test above 12 ppm; as a result, that entire lot of finished product was destroyed. All other lots produced met or exceeded our standards and were released into market.”
Quaker Oats Gluten-Free FAQ - Answers many questions consumers might ask about their oats.
Yes, even a gluten-free certified product may use mechanically separated or optically sorted oats in their products.
Bottom line, we don’t always know what type of oats are used in the product unless we ask the food manufacturer.
The "Mainstreamification" and "Walmarting" of Gluten-Free
If you're wondering - yes, yes I do like to make up words.
The gluten-free landscape began its transformation as the gluten-free lifestyle slowly seeped into mainstream consciousness.
Those of you who have been gluten-free for any length of time, think back to when you first started your journey. How many people had even heard about gluten/celiac disease/non celiac gluten sensitivity/gluten-related disorders? Right, not very many.
Fast forward to today, gluten-free is everywhere - TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, billboards, on and on. It's even being called *gasp* "a fad diet". We, the gluten-free community have been wanting mainstream recognition for a long time. It may not be in the exact form we were hoping for, but GF is now mainstream.
The increased awareness is a double edged sword. One of the biggest examples of this is gluten-free food availability. Most of the processed gluten-free foods available today were not available ten or even five years ago. Not all of the changes to the GF food landscape have been beneficial.
Back in the day, the small "Mom & Pop" companies built their businesses with hard work and a passion for doing what's right for their gluten-free customers. In many cases, the owners and employees themselves were directly affected by a gluten-related disorder. They knew and fully understood the zen of gluten-freedom - in other words - how to do it right. These pioneers have served us well. They brought excellent products to the gluten-free party, however they were often scarce and not widely available.
Enter stage right, the 800 pound gorillas. These large companies have the means to develop and distribute products faster, farther, and cheaper. All is great, right? What seemed like a great idea at the time just might have been a wolf in sheep's clothing.
I think you probably know where this is heading. If this sound vaguely familiar to you, there's a reason. It has happened all across America. After retail giant Walmart sets up shop in a town, the economic environment is often times severely damaged, particularly in smaller towns.
Doing what an 800 pound business gorilla does (anything it wants), it forces the small business to close because it's impossible to compete against a giant with deep pockets.
We are seeing a similar scenario play out in the gluten-free arena right now. Yep, the 800 pound gorillas (and many smaller primates) are using mechanically/optically separated oats in their products. Not only is this creating a health issue for the gluten-free community, it's also creating a financial problem for the pure oat producers.
GF Harvest comments on this situation via their Facebook Page:
"We have noticed a change going through the oat market. With once having trucks heading out with 50lb bags to your favorite vendors who use oats in their product. Now we are seeing that that change because of mechanical and optical separation. The part that scares me is that newly diagnosed family or even someone who has been on a gluten free diet for a while. When they are looking at some products that might have oats that could get them sick and they won't know where they got it from, since they say "GF" or even could be certified.
We want to thank you for your support and want to let you know that we are going to readjust our focus to try and see the best place to serve our gluten free customers. You are like family to us and want to serve you the best we can."
So, is there anything we can do support GF Harvest, and other purity protocol oat companies? Of course!
Questions to ask food manufacturers…
- Ask directly if any of their gluten-free oats are mechanically or optically sorted. We know they can use a mixture.
- Ask at what point in production or pre-production they test.
- Ask how often they test.
- Ask if they test each final end product, do they test batches.
- Ask if they are using the fully validated R5 ELISA R7001 Mendez method.
Several fellow gluten-free advocates* called for a virtual Cash Mob to help our favorite gluten-free oat producer.
How do you participate in virtual Cash Mob? Simple…just click the links below and order some purity protocol oats!
*Gluten-Free Advocates for Pure Oats*
In Johanna's Kitchen -
Support a Gluten-Free Farm and Trust Your Oats
Celiac In The City -
Truly Safe Gluten-Free Oats (and helping our farmer friends)!
Gluten-Free & More.com -
A Grassroots Cash Mob in the Name of Gluten-Free Oats
So many changes, so many details to remember; enough to make your head spin 'round-n-round. It's no wonder there is fear, dread and confusion.
Label reading skills are on the "must have" list in order to be successful. [Sorry, this will not be a How to Read Labels article; I'm saving that for another time, but you can learn more about reading labels here and here]
If you wish to by-pass almost all labeling reading - stick to single-ingredient whole foods. Fresh fruits and veggies, plain meats, seafood and poultry. Ever see an ingredient label on a head of broccoli? By far, this will be your best and most healthiest option.
However, in the event you find yourself in the packaged food aisles reading labels, you'll run into some strange and confusing ingredients. You'll need to know what they are and if they are gluten-free. Keep in mind, if the ingredient is gluten-free, it does not mean that it's healthy for you. Choose wisely!
Check out the links below...
Gluten-Free Living Magazine
Amaranth Herbs Quinoa Tapioca Arrowroot HVP or HPP Rice Teff Barley Lecithin Rye Teriyaki sauce Brewers yeast Malt Seasonings Tofu Buckwheat Maltodextrin Seitan Triticale Caramel color Millet Soba Vanilla Citric Acid Modified food starch Sorghum Vinegar Corn Mono and diglycerides Soy Wheat Dextrin Montina Soy Sauce Wheat Starch Flavors MSG Spelt Whey Glucose syrup Oat gum Spices* Xanthan gum Gluten Oats Starch Yeast Guar Gum Potato Sweet Potato
Gluten-Free Living Magazine
'Top 10 Ingredients you really don't need to worry about'
1. Caramel Color 4. Glucose Syrup 7. Maltodextrin 10. Vinegar 2. Citric Acid 5. Glue (envelopes) 8. Mono and diglycerides 3. Dextrose 6. Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein and Hydrolyzed Plant Protein 9. Spices*
*Ground spices have been undergoing some investigation as of late. While single spices are inherently gluten-free, testing is beginning to show that various levels of contamination can be found - even if the spices are processed in a facility without gluten [they are presumably coming in contaminated].
Please check out these links...
Gluten Free Watchdog Report: Gluten Contamination of Spices
Canadian Food Inspection Agency Report: Gluten in Ground Spices
Updated: 12/10/15 - Fixed Gluten-Free Living link for Ingredients.