General Mills removing gluten-free claim from Cheerios in Canada: Implications for US market?
As many of you have heard General Mills is removing the gluten-free claim from Cheerios sold in Canada. Gluten Free Watchdog reached out to General Mills to learn more about this decision and how it might impact Cheerios sold in the US. In particular, we asked about testing protocols and any changes to these protocols. These questions are motivated by our knowledge that an AOAC working group on gluten in oats was established because “Standards and methods are needed for gluten measurement specific to oats and oat products.” This project is supported by General Mills. Participating members “agreed that quantitative methods based on ELISA technology are needed for measurement of gluten in groats (after hulling); rolled oats; oat flour; extruded, cooked, finished product; and oat bran.”
Unfortunately, direct answers to my questions on testing were not provided.
This is the response from General Mills provided to us for posting on Gluten Free Watchdog:
Lucky Charms in Canada were not labelled gluten free.
The label will remain on gluten-free Cheerios products in the United States. We ensure we follow the regulations of every country where we do business. We are confident that every serving and box of our Gluten-Free Cheerios products fully comply with the standard, containing less than 20 ppm gluten which is the standard in the United States.
We have not changed the product or the way we test. We have simply stopped promoting gluten-free on Cheerios boxes in Canada. We test finished product on every date of production at each one of our production facilities that make gluten-free Cheerios. We also are continuing to test and assure that our oat supply – and our oat flour – are continuing to meet the FDA gluten-free standard of 20 PPM.”
The statement from General Mills on Cheerios sold in Canada is available at http://www.cheerios.ca/glutenfree
Information about the AOAC working group on oats is available at http://www.aoac.org/AOAC_Prod_Imis/AOAC_Member/ANews/2017_News/Stories/NEWS_Story021317.aspx