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Gluten Free Rolled Oats?
Sorry folks, it is technically impossible.
Without a doubt, this old chestnut features twice in our top ten frequently asked questions: “Are oats gluten free” and “Do you sell oats?”
The quick and dirty answer is that there is no such thing as gluten free oats. By definition, oats contain the gluten fraction called avenin and while many Coeliac’s can get away with consuming it, the bottom line is that it is gluten and it is present and cannot therefore be referred to in New Zealand as gluten free.
Often when you see baked items that clearly contain oats, such as gluten free oat cookies, they will be made overseas and be referring to the fact they have been produced in a way that has ensured that they have not come in contact with wheat, barley or rye on their journey. These ingredients contain the much more aggressive gluten fractions more commonly associated with flare ups.
So why do we let the language get confusing? We can blame America for this one! In the USA the parts per million threshold for gluten is much higher than in New Zealand, which means it makes the cut there, but not here. And it is for good reason that we have the lower threshold in New Zealand because the research is clear that avenin does cause inflammation and damage in some Coeliacs. If you are going to call something gluten free, then it must be gluten free, right?
As we found ourselves getting into too many ‘lively’ discussions on the topic at Gluten Free Me, we allow oats to be our one deviation from the rule that everything we sell is gluten free. In our shop we keep oats out the back so that we can have ‘the chat’ before selling them, and on our website, we have them emblazoned appropriately as not technically meeting the standard to be deemed gluten free.
So that is the situation in a nutshell, however our good friends at Ceres Organics have a much more detailed article available here if you want to know the detail behind oats and their gluten classification.