Are gluten-free Oreos celiac-safe?
Gluten-free Oreos are starting to hit the shelf in the United States and it’s taking the gluten-free community by storm. But many people with celiac are wondering, are gluten-free Oreos celiac-safe?
This question stems from oats being listed in the ingredient list of Oreos. Let’s discuss why the presence of oats in gluten-free Oreos is a concern for people with celiac and whether or not the use of oats makes them unsafe for people with celiac.
Oats and celiac
Oats are a point of confusion for many people with celiac. The debate on their safety is frequently up for discussion.
So are oats celiac-safe? If they are certified gluten-free, purity protocol, or are listed in a certified gluten-free product, then the general answer is, yes.
Oats become dicey because of the way they are processed.
Oats are often grown in fields near wheat or in fields that have previously grown wheat. In addition to that, oats are then often processed in the same facility or even on the same equipment as wheat.
The processing of oats so close to wheat, makes oats at high-risk for cross-contact at unsafe levels.
Which is why, it’s so important that when you are buying oats or anything with oats, they should be certified gluten-free, be purity protocol, OR have a gluten-free certification on the label (not just have a gluten-free claim).
Even with GF certifications some people with celiac still react to oats...
Some people with celiac find they react to Oats, no matter if they were grown purity protocol or certified gluten-free. In this case, it’s generally advised that these people who still react, avoid oats.
If you want to know if you are sensitive to oats or should avoid them personally, contact me, let’s talk.
But ultimately, if the oats are certified gluten-free, purity protocol, or in a certified gluten-free product, the general consensus is they are celiac-safe.
Tension with oats in gluten-free oreos
I believe that the main point of tension with oats being present in Oreos is that Oreos come from Nabisco, a huge food brand.
And anxiety’s run high with this in the gluten-free community because we saw another huge brand abuse oats and their safety with a gluten-free claim.
Let me explain, in August 2015, General Mills launched Gluten-free Cheerios. Within a month of launching, complaints that Cheerios weren’t gluten-free started coming in. The problem ended up being contaminated oats.
A reminder that when a product has a gluten-free claim on the label (like cheerios has/had), that item per FDA labeling laws must have <20ppm of gluten in it.
But gluten-free claims are different from gluten-free certifications. A key difference? The responsibility of product safety testing for gluten-free claims lies with the manufacturer.
Whereas, the responsibility for testing when it comes to gluten-free certifications involves 3rd party testers.
In other words, gluten-free claims require the brand to do the testing themselves, whereas gluten-free certification require another company to check and confirm the safety.
This is where gluten-free Oreos come in.
Oats in gluten-free oreos
Given the scandal of Cheerios labeling their products gluten-free but using unsafe oats, people became understandably hyper-aware of oats in their products.
Thus, when Nabisco announced they were releasing gluten-free Oreos, people were up in arms about finding “oats” on the ingredient list.
More importantly, the oats on the ingredient list did not specify if they were certified gluten-free or not. The gluten-free community having already been burned by Cheerios, bothered to say the least.
While yes, Oreos does not state if the oats are purity protocol or certified gluten-free on the label, they have 1 key difference from Cheerios; a redeeming quality if you will.
They have a gluten-free certification by the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America (GFCO).
Meaning, that Nabisco’s Oreos have been tested by a 3rd party to have <10ppm of gluten in them. This is FAR below the FDA generally safe threshold of 20ppm.
So are gluten-free oreos celiac-safe?
Need help with label-reading or just general navigation of a gluten-free lifestyle? Work with me! I’m offering gluten-free lifestyle coaching to help people like you feel CONFIDENT in their food choices and overall gluten-free lifestyle.