Gluten Free Watchdog recommends against the use of Trader Joe’s gluten-free oats

Gluten Free Watchdog recommends against the use of Trader Joe’s gluten-free oats

Gluten Free Watchdog recently commissioned testing of Trader Joe’s gluten-free rolled oats. One bag of oats (Best by Aug 18, 2023) was tested as part of our regular testing program. Results from the 6 extractions tested ranged from < 5 ppm to > 80 ppm. This is in keeping with the heterogeneous nature of gluten cross contact in oats.  Based on these results, we do not recommend the use of Trader Joe’s gluten-free rolled oats by people with celiac disease.

Gluten Free Watchdog reached out to Trader Joe’s and shared the results of our testing. Trader Joe’s response in part was, “We have no reason to believe our product is mislabeled and have lot-specific test results for the batch in question.” Based on additional email correspondence, it appears that a single extraction from this lot was tested by Trader Joe’s. The result was < 5 ppm of gluten.

Gluten Free Watchdog has been unable to confirm the source of oats used by Trader Joe’s in this product. Based on language included on product packaging as well as information available on the Trader Joe’s website (see photos), some consumers may have assumed that the oats in this product are purity protocol.

Gluten Free Watchdog has spoken with all known suppliers of purity protocol oats in Canada (packaging reads product of Canada). According to these suppliers, none of them provide oats to Trader Joe’s. Trader Joe’s has not shared the source of their oats.

A complaint has been filed with FDA.

If you believe Trader Joe’s gluten-free rolled oats made you or a family member ill, please file a complaint with an FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator. A listing is available at https://www.fda.gov/safety/report-problem-fda/consumer-complaint-coordinators.

Back packaging of Trader Joe’s gluten-free oats
Source: https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/rolled-oats-095764

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Comments (11)

  • GF Al
    Reply

    I get the feeling the manufacturers don’t understand what’s going on here. I understand that GFWD may be seen as adversarial, but if they look beyond, they’d see the bigger picture. GFWD is looking out for the gluten-free community – THEIR customer base! If they lose clients due to a tainted product – that can’t be good for business. In effect, GFWD is HELPING them correct a problem [they evidently didn’t know they had] and keep their customers. I am missing something here?

    November 3, 2022 at 5:58 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      We tried. We spoke with TJ on the phone and had a lengthy email exchange. They did not appear to want to consider our test results.

      November 3, 2022 at 6:14 pm
      • GF Al Reply

        We know you try – extremely hard! Thank you!

        November 3, 2022 at 6:22 pm
  • C.Bryce Reply

    This is SO disappointing. I don’t eat TJ oatmeal very often, but when I did, TJ’s is what I bought. Are there any safe GF oats? Bob’s Red Mill?

    November 3, 2022 at 6:10 pm
  • Dr. Tom OBryan Reply

    Thank you Tricia Thompson for the remarkable work you do supporting protection of the gluten-free community.

    Nothing that I’ve ever seen you publish is adversarial-except in the eyes of the Supplier who has been identified as having mislabeled product. You help us understand what it takes to protect ourselves from inadvertent exposure to gluten.

    We all benefit from supporting Gluten Free Watchdog

    November 3, 2022 at 7:43 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      Thank you for your kind words.

      November 3, 2022 at 9:29 pm
    • GF Al Reply

      Just to clarify – GFWD has never presented its views as adversarial or confrontational. I’ve had many interactions over the years – always kind, respectful, professional, and thoughtful. Tricia is one of the kindest (and smartest) people I know.

      My point is…from the manufacturer’s viewpoint…instead of viewing GFWD’s findings as something to be dismissed, they should be open to them. Asking themselves, “Maybe there is an issue we don’t know about? Let’s use this opportunity to investigate and potentially make our product better and safer for our customers.” This is a win for the manufacturer and for the customer. Instead, it comes off as arrogance.

      This behavior also makes me wonder if they fully understand the gluten-free consumer. If they did, they’d understand we are an educated, motivated, and tight-knit community. Where transparency will be respected and appreciated. Instead, their unwillingness to cooperate only drives a wedge between them and their customers – injecting mistrust and apprehension.

      November 3, 2022 at 10:32 pm
      • Tricia Thompson Reply

        Al, Thank you for your kind words. You raise such an important issue. When GFWD reaches out to manufacturers, we tend to get one of three types of responses. Sometimes manufacturers are mortified that there is an issue with a product and they take immediate steps to rectify. Other times, manufacturers are hesitant to believe what they are being told about a test result or an ingredient BUT they eventually come around. Unfortunately, there are other manufacturers who are totally dismissive of the information provided to them. As you write, these manufacturers do not appear to understand the gluten-free consumer or what a force we can be when manufacturers come across as less than transparent (and how forgiving we can be when they own their mistakes).

        November 4, 2022 at 1:22 pm
        • GF Al Reply

          You’re welcome – those words are well deserved. Thank you for the insight into the responses you get. It’s good to know there are companies that “get it.”

          November 4, 2022 at 4:32 pm
  • S. Blalock Reply

    Ugh, well that explains why I felt sick after a couple of bowls last month. So hard to trust TJs lately.

    November 3, 2022 at 8:55 pm

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