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Are Oats Naturally Gluten-free?

Are oats naturally gluten-free? Yes. We have addressed the issue of whether or not oats are safe for people on a gluten-free diet more times than I care to count, but the confusion still exists. The explanation is really very simple; oats are naturally gluten-free but are a rotation crop with wheat, barley and rye. As any farmer knows volunteer plants will grow here and there within the alternative crop if they have been planted in the field the previous year, which is exactly what happens. So the oats become contaminated with wheat, barley or rye in the field and with the harvesting and processing equipment that is also used to harvest and process those grains. In this scenario there is no way to prevent cross-contamination, therefore regular oats are not safe to eat on a gluten-free diet.

For the gluten-intolerant, the only way to safely consume oats or oat products is to purchase certified gluten-free oats. 

Certified gluten-free oats are grown in a similar fashion as organic crops. To begin, a field must lay fallow for 4 years, eliminating the possibility of volunteer plants. All harvesting and processing equipment must be solely used for the production of oats. The final step is the certification process. Farmers that grow and process oats in this way can then apply for gluten-free certification through one of the national gluten intolerance organizations, who then inspect and test the oats and the processing facility to ensure the above steps are followed and that the oats do in fact meet the U.S. accepted standard of gluten-free, currently less than 20ppm. The inspection is similar to kosher inspections and in fact is conducted by rabbis.

All Glutenfreeda Foods oat products are made with certified gluten-free oats.

Growers Our certified gluten-free oats are supplied using a contracted group of select seed growers. Our growers are trained on our production processes and our growing requirements to ensure the oats are gluten free. Our quality begins in the heart of the agricultural land operated by dedicated growers. A dedicated group of pedigreed seed growers, with proven abilities to grow select varieties of identity preserved pure oats and to follow stringent production guidelines, take our oats from seedling to harvest. They also follow strict protocols for oat cleaning and delivery. Quality inspections, by third parties*, start at production to ensure the pedigreed crops are free from contamination by wheat, rye, barley, and other related grains. 

Seed Grain

All of the oats we purchase are grown using certified seed. All of our growers must have their crops inspected during the growing season to ensure that the crop is free from contaminating gluten grains. Every grower must send a sample to a third party lab chosen by primary processing leadership. The third party lab will test for mycotoxins as well as purity. The third party lab results are submitted to Glutenfreeda Foods prior to delivery. 

Purity Inspection

Prior to our processing facility accepting oats from our growers, the oats undergo quality and purity testing by trained Quality Assurance staff. Once the oats pass our inspection it is accepted into our production facility for processing. None of the oats we use are irradiated, sterilized or fumigated. All are GMO free. 

Laboratory Testing

Following production, every bulk tote of product is tested using the R5 Elisa test to ensure its gluten content is <5 ppm. {less than} The test used is the R5 Elisa Test produced by R-Biopharm. This test is an AOAC approved method and is the most accurate gluten test on the market. This test is performed by certified lab technicians. 


Pack Facility 

Glutenfreeda Foods, Inc. finished goods packing location is a dedicated gluten free food grade manufacturing facility. We do not manufacture any finished goods that contain gluten in any line within the facility. We run under the guide of U.S.D.A., F.D.A., W.S.D.A., Organic Certifiers {for some items} and the Orthodox Union for all oats products manufactured.

 

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Selling Oat Products in Canada

Glutenfreeda Foods has been selling our Instant Oatmeal product into Canada since 2009 and frankly it has been a difficult endeavor and a struggle to understand and to comply with Canadian regulatory agencies.

Canada does not subscribe to or agree with the vast amounts of research and endorsements of both U.S. and Canadian Celiac expert’s definition of gluten-free which states that products containing 20ppm or less of gluten are gluten-free. Therefore they prohibit manufacturers from using the words ‘gluten-free’ on packaging. Instead, manufacturers can only identify the product as ‘wheat-free’. This is a serious dis-service to anyone on a gluten-free diet and especially those like myself who have Celiac disease. I would not eat a product that did not state that it was gluten-free on the package and would be forced to first contact the company regarding its gluten-free status and that is exactly what many of our Canadian customers do. This has created enormous confusion for the consumer. We continuously receive numerous calls and emails from Canadian consumers who are perplexed as to why we don’t label our products, ‘gluten-free’ and wondering if our products are indeed gluten-free and safe to eat.

The answer is YES, all of our products are gluten-free, manufactured in a gluten-free environment and are safe for Celiacs or anyone on a gluten-free diet.

To comply with Health Canada and the CFIA we have had to redesign our oat product packaging to omit all reference to gluten-free including the fact that the product is manufactured in a dedicated gluten-free facility.

Canadian customers love our products and are appreciative that we sell our gluten-free oatmeal in their market. Our Canadian customers are very important to us and as such we will continue to comply with Canadian agencies and continue to hope that their labeling policies are modified in the near future to the same standards as adopted by all experts working in the field of Celiac disease and gluten-intolerance. 

Yvonne Gifford, CEO

Glutenfreeda Foods, Inc.