updated 10/25/22 - Added GFWD’s Purity Protocol link as it back online.
updated 10/14/22 - Add Gluten-Free Watchdog’s Special Statement on Purity Protocol Oats
updated 10/14/22 - Removed Gluten-Free Watchdog’s Oats link. They’ve removed the link temporarily.
updated 10/30/19 - Updated Purity Protocol Oats list from GFWD
updated 04/30/19 - Add GIG and GFWD links
updated 12/31/18 - Updated GFW’s purity protocol oats list.
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.
Oats and products made with oats have been burning up the internet lately. People in the gluten-free community started asking manufacturers exactly what kind of oats are used in their products…with surprising results.
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?
Currently, most medical professionals say pure, gluten-free oats can be tolerated in limited amounts [up to a 1/2 cup per day for adults].
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 April 30th, 2019 - Gluten-Free Watchdog, shares more research from PepsiCo (owners of Quaker Oats brand).
Due in large part to data published in the public domain by Quaker, the celiac disease community continues to learn about the nature of gluten grain cross contact in oats, including that:https://www.somatopublications.com/oat-consumption-by-celiac-disease-patients-outcomes-range-from-harmful-to-beneficial-depending-on-the-purity-of-the-oats.pdf
Grains of wheat, barley, and rye are unevenly distributed within a given amount of oats.
Despite what may be the best efforts of suppliers, gluten-containing grains have been found in both final product purity protocol oats and final product mechanically and optically sorted oats.
Read More: Oats Revisited: Quaker Gluten-Free Oats - http://bit.ly/2J8ujmj
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:
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.
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
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.