Are Oats Gluten Free?
Are oats gluten free?.The short answer is no they are not. So why can some companies call their oats gluten free? Well it comes down to;
Labelling, Manufacturing and Testing
There is such a thing as GF oats but when testing for the presence of gluten, food items and products are put through a rigorous range of protocols. However, in saying this none of these tests done internationally can actually detect the gluten protein found in oats; making oats appear as if they are gluten free.
The response to this is different in the Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) and the USA/Europe. FSANZ state that because of this anomaly no one in Australia is able to make a claim that oats are gluten free.
In the US and Europe they have different laws as they go by a Chicago study that claimed 'Oats don't contain gluten, rather they contain avenins which are tolerated by most coeliac's'. There is even a variance in studies that the FSANZ and the US Food Drug Administration (FDA) go by. Hence, the US allows claims such as 'oats are gluten free', but it also states that it must not be cross contaminated in any way.
How Does Contamination Occur?
The three main ways cross contamination can occur are:
Crop rotation or contamination from surrounding crops. Often times farmers will rotate their oat crops with barley or rye, which can contaminate the soil. Other times, if oat crops are surrounded by other gluten containing crops the wind can spread seeds throughout surrounding crops contaminating the oats.
Harvesting - If the farmers harvest their crops with the same equipment that they used to harvest gluten containing crops a cross contamination can occur.
Processing -If the oats are processed on a line that also deals with gluten containing crops, cross contamination can also occur.
Which is why you will find that some US or European oats state that they are 'wheat free' or 'uncontaminated' oats.
How Can Gluten Levels in Food Be Tested?
The FDA states that products may claim they are gluten free if the gluten content is less than 20 ppm (parts per million). However Australian testing methods are able to test as low as 3ppm; which again is quite a difference. So, you can see why there is so much confusion around if oats are gluten free or not.
For about 10 years now GF Oats Australia (Gloriously Free Oats) have sourced from GF Harvest in the USA. They have sourced one of the purist uncontaminated oats in the world today and a member of the Purity Protocol.
Their oats test nil gluten contamination here in Australia. All results of their testing is available their Compliance Page.
GF Oats are certified gluten-free in various nations of the world, but in Australia they are unable to be labelled gluten-free due to current Australian labelling restrictions. Every batch they bring into Australia gets tested for NIL gluten so you can have piece of mind and trust that there is no gluten in these oats.
As always, we recommend that if you have coeliac disease or are gluten intolerant seek advice from a qualified practitioner as to what should be added to your diet. But at least now there is some options for gluten free diets to have oats added back in.
If you love your oats for breakfast here is a couple of tips to make your oats super creamy if that is your thing.
1 cup GF Oats Organic Oats (serves 2)
Pinch of salt
1 cup of milk
Put 1 cup of GF Oats Organic Oats into a pot with 1 cup water the night before and a pinch of salt. Leave to soak overnight.
The next morning add 1 cup of your milk of choice. Then pop your oats on the stove at a medium temperature.
Stir occasionally and once the milk has evaporated and your oats have thickened (this will only take 3-5 mins approx.) remove from the stove ready to serve and add your toppings of choice.
Coconut milk or cream
1 tsp Chia Seeds
1 tsp Flax seeds
Nuts of choice – Flaked almonds are my favourite
Mixed berry coulis (frozen berries blended up)
Fresh or Tinned Fruit
Try some of these combo's
Mix the following 1/4 tsp Coconut sugar, 1/4 tsp Cinnamon Top with Nuts of choice, Maple syrup
Banana slices, Peanut Butter drizzle & Honey (optional)
Toasted Coconut Flakes, Chopped Roasted Almonds, Dark Chocolate Chips (optional)
Mix the following pinch of vanilla powder , vanilla yogurt (2 tablespoons) Top with: fresh raspberries, chopped roasted almonds, raspberry jam (optional)