Over the past 12 years there have been a number of well-designed studies assessing the safety of oats. These studies have found that the moderate (approximately 50 grams of dry oats a day) consumption of oats uncontaminated with wheat, barley, and rye is safe for most people with celiac disease. Some studies did find that in a very small minority of people with celiac disease oats could cause an immune system reaction.
If you decide to include oats in your diet it is very important to eat only those products that have been carefully grown, harvested, and processed to be gluten free. A few years ago I did a study on the gluten contamination of commercial oat products (i.e., Quaker, Country Coice, and McCann’s) that was published in The New England Journal of Medicine (Thompson T. NEJM. 2004;351:2021-2022). Gluten content ranged from less than 3 ppm to over 1,800 ppm gluten. Specifically, the four containers of McCann’s brand steel cut Irish oats contained from less than 3 ppm to 725 ppm gluten; the four containers of Country Choice brand old fashioned organic oats contained from less than 3 ppm to 210 ppm gluten; and the four containers of Quaker brand old fashioned oats contained from 338 to 1,807 ppm gluten.
For more information on this study as well as other articles I have written on oats, go to the Newsletter home page of www.glutenfreedietitian.com. Click on “scientific articles” and scroll down to the section on oats.
After careful review of the scientific literature on oats, the Food and Drug Administration in its proposed rule on use of the term gluten free on food labels, is proposing to allow oats and products containing oats to bear a gluten-free claim as long as the final food product contains less than 20 ppm gluten.
The companies currently producing gluten-free oats include:
Bob’s Red Mill (www.bobsredmill.com)
Cream Hill Estates (www.pureoats.com)
Gifts of Nature (www.giftsofnature.net)
Gluten-Free Oats (www.glutenfreeoats.com)
Only Oats (www.onlyoats.com)
Please email me if you have any questions about oats