Gluten Free Watchdog cannot recommend any brand of gluten-free oats

Gluten Free Watchdog cannot recommend any brand of gluten-free oats

In early January of 2022, Gluten Free Watchdog issued a statement warning the community about supply chain issues with oats. At Gluten Free Watchdog we have seen an increase in oats testing with quantifiable gluten either at/above 20 ppm OR above the level of gluten allowed by their certifying organization. At this time (April, 2023), Gluten Free Watchdog cannot recommend any brand of gluten-free oats. This includes products that are certified gluten-free or made using purity protocol oats. We will issue an update when the situation warrants.

Update April 10, 2023: Please also see the post, “Brief history of oats & Gluten Free Watchdog’s evolving opinion” at

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Comments (54)

  • mary Reply

    So not even Zego oats?

    April 4, 2023 at 12:01 pm
  • Tamarah Reply

    I am so sorry to read this. Can you please share the brands of oats that you tested to make this determination? Thank you!

    April 4, 2023 at 1:18 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      Some test results are available on the public side of the website (home page, left column under sample product reports).

      April 5, 2023 at 11:07 am
  • Rebecca Reply

    I’m a little confused at the timing. What has changed since the last update that gfw gave? We’ve had reports like Bob’s Red Mill oats and the overnight oats that tested below.

    April 4, 2023 at 1:30 pm
    • Jocelyn Reply

      My biggest concern is with GFCO certified oats. Are there any? Also does this include GFCO certified products that include oats? Also, are GFCO certified products testing over the limit? That’s very disconcerting!

      April 4, 2023 at 11:51 pm
      • Tricia Thompson Reply

        Some test results are available on the public side of the website (home page, left column under sample product reports).

        April 5, 2023 at 11:35 am
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      Hi Rebecca, Hoping the second email that went out to subscribers yesterday answered your questions.

      April 5, 2023 at 11:08 am
  • Eric Reply

    Can you share more detail behind this new position? I’ve been watching your published results and it appears most of the products are testing as safe.

    April 4, 2023 at 1:34 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      Hi Eric, Hoping the second email that went out to subscribers yesterday answered your questions.

      April 5, 2023 at 11:10 am
  • Tricia Thompson Reply

    Testing oats for gluten cross contact is tricky. It is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Why? Because errant wheat and barley are not evenly distributed. The number of oat samples testing with quantifiable gluten is unprecedented for GFWD. At this time, we cannot recommend any brand of labeled gluten-free oats.

    April 4, 2023 at 1:45 pm
    • jaye Reply

      How does that apply to purity protocol oat companies? What if you are getting oats directly from those companies?

      April 4, 2023 at 4:26 pm
    • Dave Reply

      When you say you “cannot recommend any brand”, are you saying that as an equivalent statement to “recommend against purchasing/consuming any brand”? Or do you mean it precisely as it’s worded: that you cannot recommend any brand, but you are also recommending AGAINST consuming any GF oats at this time?

      April 4, 2023 at 7:22 pm
      • Dave Reply

        Sorry, my either/or statement was identical 🙂 My question is, are you recommending against consuming any brand of GF oats, or are you simply saying that you aren’t recommending any brand?

        April 4, 2023 at 7:23 pm
        • Tricia Thompson Reply

          Exactly as it is worded: Gluten Free Watchdog cannot recommend any brand of gluten-free oats.

          April 4, 2023 at 7:45 pm
          • Dave

            I guess my question is that it’s unclear what you mean by “GFW cannot recommend any brand….” It’s unclear whether that means: (a) you cannot recommend any brand for purchase if someone asks you which brand to buy, but you’re stopping short of recommending that we avoid consuming any brand of oats; or (b) you are recommending against the consumption of any brand of oats. Both (a) and (b) are possibilities from what you wrote, so I’m just hoping you can clarify which meaning you intended.

            April 4, 2023 at 8:00 pm
          • Tricia Thompson

            Everyone must make their own decision about whether or not to include oats in their gluten-free diet. This should be based on all available information, including information provided by GFWD. As stated, at this time, given the information available to us, GFWD cannot recommend any brand of gluten-free oats. This includes products that are certified gluten-free or made using purity protocol oats. In other words, we cannot recommend brand A purity protocol oats, or brand B certified gluten-free oats, or brand C sorted oats (etc.).

            April 5, 2023 at 11:34 am
        • Jennica Reply


          I think Tricia is choosing to neither recommend that we eat oats nor recommend that we not eat oats, because she is not a health professional, and everyone is different.

          April 7, 2023 at 3:32 pm
    • Jill Neimark Reply

      Tricia, I have always gotten Montana Gluten Free whole oat groats, examined the groats, and then cooked them in the crockpot. Shouldn’t this be safe as I could see an errant grain?

      April 15, 2023 at 4:56 pm
    • Lindsay Reply

      It would probably make more sense to test oat milk and then extrapolate for other products right?

      August 23, 2023 at 8:26 pm
  • Becki Reply

    Is this true for the quaker gluten free oats as well?

    April 4, 2023 at 3:44 pm
    • L Faxon Reply

      IV been eating Morrisons g/f porridge for over 3years so now you are saying it’s not safe have I got this right.

      April 5, 2023 at 5:41 pm
      • Tricia Thompson Reply

        Are you located in the UK by chance? Gluten Free Watchdog is a US company. Our focus is on oat products available in North America. Thank you for the opportunity to clarify.

        April 5, 2023 at 6:02 pm
  • Tricia Thompson Reply

    To everyone asking about specific brands… At this time, Gluten Free Watchdog cannot recommend any brand of gluten-free oats. This includes products that are certified gluten-free or made using purity protocol oats. I know this is frustrating. It is frustrating to me too.

    April 4, 2023 at 5:29 pm
  • Melinda Nichols Reply

    Hi Tricia,
    Can your advocacy organization advocate for “oats” to be included in food disclaimers, that where a food company also manufactures/produces oat-containing products as well as non-oat-containing products, there is still a risk of cross-contact with the non-oat products IF the company uses SHARED facilities, storage, handling, processing equipment lines, and packaging? Right now, manufacturers have to include cross-contact label disclaimers for other allergens, including soy, tree nuts, dairy, and our good old friend gluten. HOWEVER, “oats” is not among those — likely because oats are not YET categorized by the FDA as a foid allergen. My former GI physician affiliated with a research university was the first and only GI doctor three years ago who ALERTED me that a subset of those with Celiac (and possibly Non-Celiac Gluten Intolerant/Sensitive — me) CANNOT tolerate ANY oats because of its protein (I believe “Avenin”) that molecularly is similar in composition to gluten’s protein (“Gliadin”) and this subset of people become ill without realizing it is due to our bodies mistaking the similar structured oat protein as the protein in gluten. So, the issue is complex with oats — regardless if they are allegedly grown in dedicated fields, not processed on shared equipment with wheat, etc. The very make-up of oats is a high risk for adverse reactions also for a subset of us stricken with the range of gluten intolerance/sensitivity illnesses. Many products, including chocolate bars, that have the reputable certification GFCO, are now adding oat and oat milk to their product line and not dedicating processing, storage, equipment to those products — are not keeping them separate from their non-oat products. And they are not adding any disclaimer to their non-oat products that are becoming cross-contaminated. The NIH and University of Chicago Celiac Center have research articles on the prolamins and “Avenin” protein in oats and gluten’s protein “Gliadin,” where risk to a subset of individuals with these gluten illnesses (not only to Celiacs, but Non-Celiacs as well), are measured.

    April 4, 2023 at 5:56 pm
    • Andrea Reply

      This exactly! I wish there was more awareness around the similarity in protein make up. I’ve conducted tests on myself and while my reaction to oats isn’t nearly as intense or as many symptoms as gluten, I do react with same symptoms.

      April 5, 2023 at 12:41 am
      • Melinda Nichols Reply

        Hi Andrea,
        Sounds very much like me — not exactly all the same symptoms as gluten symptoms, but a sure-fire subset of them. It’s so hard to figure out when oats are being produced (on the same shared equipment and production lines) as non-containing certified gluten-free products — unless you painstakingly contact the manufacturing companies and hope they’ll have a knowledgeable representative even reply. So far, I am finding responses slow, if received at all. We somehow need to advocate the FDA, etc., for food label disclaimers to include all oats in addition to what is already included: gluten, soy, tree nuts, dairy, and peanuts. FDA, I’m told from hearsay, does not categorize oats as an allergen and hence it is not included. But, for those of us as described here with possible/likely cross-reactivity to similar protein foods (oats) to gluten’s protein, oats is an allergen. How can we advocate within the FDA and any other applicable food labeling governmental agencies?

        April 7, 2023 at 1:17 am
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      Allergen advisory statements (e.g., processed on the same equipment as …) are voluntary and do not fall under any FDA regulations. We first need FDA to regulate these statements so that they are related to actual risk. For more information on this effort, see

      Regarding oat avenin and celiac disease, the article that first brought this issue to our attention is available for free at

      April 5, 2023 at 12:53 pm
      • Melinda Nichols Reply

        Thank you for commenting, Tricia. How do we engage in discussion with FDA on this issue regarding having them regulate food labels, and specifically, also to broaden the very real potential risks of cross-reactive foods for the spectrum of people afflicted with gluten-related illnesses (Celiac and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity/Intolerance). Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity/Intolerance can experience these cross-reactive symptoms as well — just as I do. Unfortunately, little research is dedicated to NCGS. Among multiple GI physicians over 10 years, only one GI physician (affiliated with a research university) listened with patience and long enough to my carefully restricted food regimen (to eliminate gluten) and then educated me about cross-reactivity due to molecular similarities in proteins (e.g., oats). How can I and everyone here in this forum work with you and Gluten Free Watchdog to present this issue to the FDA and to more widely disseminate information about cross-reactivity with oats to our gluten community? How can Gluten Free Watchdog and those of us afflicted start contacting as many of these companies producing many product lines without dedicating separate production equipment and processing lines? These companies are not knowledgeable. Some of the companies, when alerted to the risks, may voluntarily implement risk-reducing measures — either through their labeling to include oats or by creating separate/dedicated production lines where there is no cross-contact.

        April 7, 2023 at 1:31 am
  • Eric G Reply

    Tricia — in the past you’ve limited your concern to single-ingredient oat products. Does your concern here extend to multi-ingredient products containing oats?

    Thanks for everything you do!

    April 4, 2023 at 6:20 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      At this time, we also can’t recommend any brand containing oats as an ingredient in a multi-ingredient product.

      April 4, 2023 at 6:27 pm
  • Ella Reply

    Where was this conducted? US or Europe?

    April 4, 2023 at 7:11 pm
  • D Reply

    Thank you Tricia for all your help in keeping us safe from gluten. You are truly a hero.

    April 4, 2023 at 8:12 pm
  • Jenny Reply

    Hi Tricia, Your statement today says you do “not recommend any oats.” I have questions. Can you share specific data and insights to justify this blanket statement? As you know, your words influence many people and may restrict people’s diets beyond what is necessary, leading to lower quality of life, overly-restrictive dieting, fear, and disordered eating. This also opens the door to hurt many businesses and may be libelous to those companies that take great caution in ensuring their oats and end products are safe. I kindly ask that you provide more information and data to support this recommendation and pray the community will not rebuke me for asking for such proof points.

    April 4, 2023 at 11:32 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      What was actually stated: “At this time (April, 2023), Gluten Free Watchdog cannot recommend any brand of gluten-free oats.”

      April 5, 2023 at 1:25 pm
    • Ashley Reply

      Great question Jenny! I look forward to hearing the response. These were my same initial thoughts.

      April 5, 2023 at 7:32 pm
  • Mary Miller Reply

    This is a big deal, I can’t do oats sadly. I will be passing this to my friends who do tend to eat oats with possible celiacs.

    April 5, 2023 at 9:55 am
  • Wolfie Reply

    Well I certainly already figured that out!
    thanks for all you do

    April 5, 2023 at 11:43 am
  • Danya Phillippe Reply

    Thank you so much, Tricia! I could not understand what was wrong with me, I was getting sicker, and I couldn’t isolate the gluten source until your email.
    Sadly I had been waiting months for my favorite gf granola; when it was finally restocked two weeks ago, I grabbed a bag and ate it for breakfast every morning with blueberries. I have been in pain, unable to sleep, and near-constant nausea and migraine; I gave up eating everything else but granola (I was really worried when could only eat two spoonfuls on the 3rd).
    I woke to your email yesterday, and I have indulged in nothing but tea and water since the 3rd, and I really slept last night; I have not yet taken anything for migraine, and I am not doubled over in pain.
    Sometimes it’s the things you’ve come to trust the most.
    Thank you again
    [Product name redacted]

    April 5, 2023 at 5:19 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      Thanks for sharing your experience. If you believe the granola or any other labeled gluten-free product made you sick, it is very important to file a complaint with an FDA consumer complaint coordinator. Contact information is available at

      April 5, 2023 at 5:56 pm
    • Melinda Nichols Reply

      Hi Danya,
      I am so happy that you are beginning to recover and feel your pain. Gluten intolerance/sensitivity (whether Celiac or Non-Celiac) is an awful spectrum of diseases that I experience as well. I cannot seem to tolerate any oats after having tried my best to eliminate gluten sources from my diet, which involves my constant vigilance and self-evaluation. I am going to ask my doctor if there is a blood level test similar to TTG IgA for gluten for these cross-reactive proteins such as Avenin (in oats)? Or is it just that a blood TTG IgA for gluten will be elevated due to oats because of the cross-reactivity? Something for me to discuss with my doctor — if the doctor even knows.

      Did your GF granola include oats as an ingredient? There are two issues. Tricia brought up the fact that oats of any kind (whether allegedly “certified gluten-free” or not) are too at risk from the growing stage to the production sites for cross-contamination with gluten. I have raised another equally important issue with oats based on my former GI doctor affiliated with a research university about the protein found in oats called Avenin which is quite similar in molecular composition to the protein Gliadin in gluten. For a subset of those with Celiac and Non-Celiac gluten illnesses, our bodies mistake the oat protein to be the same as the gluten protein because of their molecular similarities and we can become ill as if we had eaten gluten. So, you need to try and figure out if oats disturb your system, contributing to symptoms similar to having eaten gluten.

      April 7, 2023 at 1:45 am
  • Virginia Kessler Reply

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU SOOOO VERY much!!! Once the doctor diagnosed me several years back I tried to educate myself ALL the way as I live by the rule that for most things….either do it ALL the way, completely in an throughly educated way or don’t do it at all. If it is worth doing, then put in all the research and do it right. Symptoms are indeed annoying, but it is the internal damage that will get you in the end. I look at my symptoms as just a hint as to not to eat something BECAUSE it is the damage I want to not hurt my body any more. So I have been telling people for years now to run away from oats. This started once Cheerios thought the could take off with a ton of new ads that told the viewers that showed people that now their little kids could finally eat cheerios just like all the other kids. BS!!!! I don’t know why! …to make a buck off the poorer health of people. DISGUSTING !!!! I won’t even touch a box of General Mills cereal, or use Bob’s Gluten Free Oats.

    April 5, 2023 at 6:11 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      Thanks for sharing your experiences. Historically, GFWD has been supportive of certain suppliers and manufacturers of oats–both purity protocol and sorted (to a very limited extent). While currently, Gluten Free Watchdog cannot recommend any brand of gluten-free oats, we will issue an update when the situation warrants.

      April 5, 2023 at 8:09 pm
  • Christine Diaz Reply

    Tricia, thank you for everything you do for us.

    I contacted my local FDA representative this morning regarding Trader Joe’s Rolled Oats (gluten free) which made me violently ill on Sunday after I baked cookies. I’m still suffering brain fog, joint aches and pains, dizziness and a rash. Turns out, Trader Joe’s is very powerful which explains why you can’t get a straight answer from them. The FDA rep will contact them and see if she gets more info but it’s possible she won’t as they can state “proprietary information.” It’s important that anyone else who has been made ill by these oats also contact their local FDA rep. Contact information is available at

    April 5, 2023 at 6:39 pm
    • Melinda Nichols Reply

      Hi Christine,
      Is it their “grown on dedicated fields” oats that you are referring to? You may want to see my other comments on this blog post related to oats’ protein Avenin being similar in molecular composition to the Gliadin protein in gluten and that a subset of us with these gluten illnesses have cross-reactivity to any oats. I am saddened to hear of your excruciating set of symptoms. I experience a similar subset of symptoms as you with gluten and these cross-reactive foods (e.g., oats), when they infiltrate my food despite how very careful I monitor all labels.

      April 7, 2023 at 1:55 am
  • Jason Reply

    Are the gluten positive results from the oats themselves or cross contamination, given what the test(s) run were looking for? I would be surprised if suddenly oats were determined to contain gluten like wheat, barley, and rye.

    April 7, 2023 at 7:23 pm
  • L Faxon Reply

    Yes the research is very good hope it can be sorted soon I been having porrage every morning don’t know what I’ll have now IV just started been bad when I eat eggs don’t know if anyone else has this trouble

    April 11, 2023 at 5:27 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      Please remember, while GFWD can’t recommend any brand of gluten-free oats at this time, our statement is not “don’t eat gluten-free oats.” You must make your own decision whether to eat gluten-free oats and what brands to eat based on your particular situation. Information from Gluten Free Watchdog is only one piece of the puzzle.

      April 11, 2023 at 6:31 pm

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