Are Oats Really Gluten-free?
As the sole importer of gluten-free oats in Australia we at GK Gluten Free Foods get asked on a daily basis these 3 questions, so I decided to write my answers down so that we can assist people who are searching for answers.
- “Are Oats gluten-free?”
- Don’t oats contain gluten?
- Why aren’t they labelled gluten-free?
Pure oats or oats that referred to as “ gluten-free oats ” is free from contamination because of wheat, rye or barley at the farm and processing level. Australia and New Zealand labelling standards are “no detectable gluten” which is less than 3-5 parts per million. In countries such as the UK, who have just changed their threshold to less than 20ppm the thresholds are much higher.
Australian & New Zealand Coeliac Societies and Food Standards Australia and New Zealand laid out our laws here in Australia and New Zealand that indicate that any product that contains oats cannot be labelled “gluten-free”.
This causes much distress and confusion here in the Australia gluten-free circles, as the world is a small place. You can google “ gluten-free oats ” and come up with hundreds of sites quoting and referring to oats as being gluten-free.
Gluten is the name given to the protein in wheat, rye, barley and oats as below –
- gliadin in wheat
- hordein in barley
- secalin in rye
- avenin in oats
The current laboratory tests can only measure gliadin, hordein and secalin – not avenin as it is a slightly different protein.
So we all have access to this information but what we choose to do with it is the question. Here in Australia we currently say “no” to the gluten-free labelling of these products when in other parts of the world you can purchase and eat this product without questioning its contents. So what does that mean really, because at the end of the day we are all the same human beings?
At present, the Coeliac Societies (both New Zealand and Australia) are lobbying our respective governments to lower the “no detectable gluten” to be in line with Europe at 20ppm.
Let me know your thoughts, and I encourage you to try the sample size of our product. In addition, read what others have said who have successfully eaten this product and following a gluten-free diet.