Oats are a satisfying and fiber-rich grain which, in many cases, are used as a substitute for wheat in sweet snacks and breakfast foods. Pure oats are inherently gluten-free, as oat proteins differ from the proteins found in wheat, barley and rye which have a toxic effect on people with celiac disease. The problem for people who are highly sensitive to gluten and those with celiac is that oats, wheat and barley are usually grown next to eachother in the fields and are processed on the same equipment, leading to the possibility of cross-contamination. Luckily, there are more and more brands that are coming out with gluten-free oats, a designation that means that the oats have been grown and processed in dedicated facilities that are free of cross-contamination. Research has shown that most celiac patients can tolerate a moderate amount of oats, although there is a small percentage of people with celiac for whom a protein in oats called avenin triggers an immune response similar to gluten. Continue reading
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The FDA issued a final rule that will define what characteristics foods will have to have in order to be labeled “gluten-free,” “without gluten,” “free of gluten,” and “no gluten.”
Here are the criteria:
1) Gluten limit of less than 20 ppm (parts per million)
2) If the product does not contain any type of wheat, rye, barley, or crossbreeds of these grains
3) If the product does not contain an ingredient derived from these grains and that has not been processed to remove gluten
4) If the product does not contain an ingredient derived from these grains and that has been processed to remove gluten , if it results in the food containing 20 or more ppm gluten
This standard will finally eliminate our uncertainty about how producers label their products and will make sure that we gluten-free people can take a breath of relief because these products will be safe to eat!
Before this new standard was issued, there were no federal standards or definitions for the food industry to use in labeling products “gluten-free.” Studies have estimated that 5% of foods currently labeled “gluten-free” contain 20 ppm or more of gluten! Making them NOT “gluten-free” by these new standards, and therefore making a lot of us sick!
The regulations will be published Aug, 5, 2013 and manufacturers have one year from the date to bring their labels up to standards.