Gluten Free Watchdog special 2023 statement on the use of oats in the gluten-free diet

Gluten Free Watchdog special 2023 statement on the use of oats in the gluten-free diet

In the latter half of 2022, four labeled gluten-free oat products from three manufacturers commissioned for testing by Gluten Free Watchdog had gluten test results above 20 parts per million. Three of the four products were certified gluten-free at the time of testing. These results are unprecedented for GFWD.

At Gluten Free Watchdog, we are stopping short of recommending against the use of oats. However, you may want to familiarize yourself with the suppliers of purity protocol oats and confirm with manufacturers that their oats are sourced from one of the listed suppliers posted at You also may want to familiarize yourself with the protocols followed by Quaker

We will continue to test labeled gluten-free foods containing oats and will update the community as necessary.

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Comments (39)

  • Denise Reply

    This makes sense now, hope it is not TMI. Although I have not felt ill, my lavatory visits have been occasionally floating. They are not on your list, but I have used Bob’s Red Mill for a long time and never had an issue, until this last batch I purchased.

    Thanks for the heads up. I think I will stop eating oats completely.

    January 4, 2023 at 9:49 pm
  • Lisa Wisener Reply

    Thank you so much for what you do. I have quit eating Oats. The last time I had been gulted I had eaten Oats around the same time so I just gave up on them.

    January 5, 2023 at 4:18 am
  • Donna Reply

    Thank you so much for all of your work in figuring this out! Oats are so tricky! We love using oat milk in our coffee. I’m wondering if that’s okay. I usually buy Oat Planet Extra Creamy from Walmart. I think I read that Oatsome uses purity protocol oats, but I didn’t care for it!

    January 5, 2023 at 6:27 am
  • Kierstin Reply

    Is there a place we can find the list of oat products that tested above limits? I know of 2 but not sure about the other ones.

    January 5, 2023 at 7:59 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      Some product reports on oats that are generally available only to subscribers to Gluten Free Watchdog have been moved to the home page (left side of page) Everyone should know that it is thanks to the paying subscribers to Gluten Free Watchdog that we are able to do this work.

      January 6, 2023 at 1:20 pm
      • Jocelyn Reply

        Thank you. I used to be a subscriber but I had to close my PayPal account due to fraud. Can you accept another form of payment?

        January 18, 2023 at 7:47 pm
        • Tricia Thompson Reply

          Hi Jocelyn, You can subscribe via credit card without a PayPal account. However, PayPal handles these transactions too. You can also subscribe via check. Please reach out to me at

          January 18, 2023 at 8:20 pm
  • Mandy Maclean Reply

    All 3 of my daughters are coeliac and have had issues with so called gf labelled products! When will manufacturers wake up to the fact that alot of gluten free purchasers don’t have a choice! It’s not a lifestyle choice for those with coeliac disease it’s life threatening , don’t they realise the dangers of being misleading and negligent?

    January 5, 2023 at 10:13 pm
  • Jessica Reply

    Thank you for sharing this information! Have any of the oat suppliers who claim to be providing purity protocol oats but have failed testing provided any comment? Is there any acknowledgement of a problem that they are working to fix?

    January 5, 2023 at 10:32 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      GF Harvest, while never responding to Gluten Free Watchdog, did issue a pullback of one lot of oat flour per information from GFCO.

      January 6, 2023 at 1:26 pm
  • Susan Reply

    Thank you for checking. I am gluten intolerant and I have tried gluten free oats but I still have problems with oats ,so I don’t take it.

    January 6, 2023 at 3:49 am
  • lynne miller Reply

    Have you informed Coeliac UK of your findings

    January 6, 2023 at 8:37 am
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      Not directly but Coeliac UK does follow us on social media. We are a US-based organization and the oats in question are grown in North America. The same issue with oats may or may not exist in the oat supply in the UK. This will depend on where manufacturers source their oats and the farming practices in these areas. This is not something we have investigated.

      January 6, 2023 at 1:32 pm
  • Richard Austin Reply

    Oats contain avenin which does same damage as gluten so be aware of anything containing oats.

    January 6, 2023 at 6:30 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      While oats remain controversial, all of the evidence taken as a whole suggests that pure oats, free from wheat, barley, and rye can be consumed by the vast majority (but not all) of individuals with celiac disease. Two pivotal articles helped pave the way for this present day view of oats…

      The first article published in 2002 entitled, “No harm from five year ingestion of oats in coeliac disease” was the first long-term study to assess the safety of oats. This study found that, “there were no significant differences between controls and those patients consuming oats with respect to duodenal villous architecture, inflammatory cell infiltration, cell infiltration of the duodenal mucosa, or antibody titres after five years of follow-up.” The full study can be accessed at:

      The second article published in 2004 entitled, “The molecular basis for oat intolerance in patients with celiac disease” assessed the intestinal mucosa of a few patients who had previously developed mucosal inflammation while consuming oats. Researchers concluded that, “some celiac disease patients have avenin-reactive mucosal T-cells that can cause mucosal inflammation.” The full study can be accessed at

      January 9, 2023 at 3:37 pm
    • Angelica Reply

      Older research which should be continually updated, showed that certain populations, especially people in Ireland, react to avenin, but the rate is 10% of people with active Celiac. It’s still pretty common.

      A “rare” illness is 1 in 10,000 people (200,000 people in the US population becomes about 1 in 10K).

      Celiac is 2 in 100 people. Which is not rare.

      Avenin reaction at 10% of that would be 2 in 1000 people. Still not a rare disease. But closer to the rate of Bowel Disease (0.02% of population).

      I think it’s theoretical, but unproven to test for avenin reaction by eating oats and then using a “celiac” test for transglutaminase, but I doubt if you can get a doctor to order that test.

      People are at the mercy of “do what feels best to you” until more science is completed. But scientific will seems weak.

      This is my long winded way of saying, I always feel odd if I eat oats. I stay away from them. I can’t prove that I react to them, but I think I do.

      February 3, 2023 at 6:46 pm
  • Caitie Knodel Reply

    My son has celiac and he had a horrid reaction to the Bobo’s chocolate chip oat bars (United States). They are labeled Certified GF. He ate half of a bar one evening and the next morning he ate a whole one. By that afternoon he had a migraine and vomited multiple times. After doing some research, I now know to never give him oats even if they are labeled CGF. I have read other threads online from other Celiacs reacting from this brand as well. Thanks for all you do.

    January 9, 2023 at 3:23 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      Hi Caitie, If you believe a labeled gluten-free product made your son sick, it is really important to file a complaint with an FDA consumer complaint coordinator. See

      January 9, 2023 at 3:48 pm
      • Caitie Knodel Reply

        Hello – I have reached out to the company and I filed a complaint with the FDA. Thanks for that information. If I find out where their oats are sourced from, is it possible you could test them? Thanks much.

        January 9, 2023 at 8:03 pm
        • Tricia Thompson Reply

          Based on email correspondence from the company, Bobo’s stopped using purity protocol oats in May 2022. I don’t know their current supplier.

          January 9, 2023 at 8:57 pm
          • Caitie Knodel

            Thanks for that update. I am still in contact with them and they are going to do further testing on the date/lot code of the oats my son got sick with. We will see what comes of it. They are not will to share with me where they source their oats.

            January 18, 2023 at 7:50 pm
          • Tricia Thompson

            Please keep me posted.

            January 18, 2023 at 8:16 pm
          • Caitie knodel

            Hi Tricia

            Bobo’s did finally get back to me and they claimed they tested the lot code from the oat bars my son consumed and they were within their limits of being CGF. They would not give me any further information. We have stricter avoided all oats and anything containing oat/oat flour. Thanks for all you do keep us safe and informed.

            May 8, 2023 at 1:42 pm
  • Melissa Belser Reply

    My Husband reacted to GF Harvest in October of this year. He ate them maybe a few times per month. I was stumped because I had been using these oats for several years without issues for him. Is Montana GF still a reliable source of GF oats?

    January 9, 2023 at 8:30 pm
  • Angelica Reply

    Thank you for doing this work. This reminds me to sign up again. You’re a cornerstone in the regulation of gluten free labeling. So grateful to you.

    For those who can eat oats, the loss of them is a big loss. Any further limitation of the GF diet is a loss. I think we need better regulation to protect the food security of people with allergies and gluten free needs. Not just the desire for it, but those who need it. It’s websites like this that help the most.

    February 3, 2023 at 6:53 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      Thank you for your kind words, Amgelica. I agree with you about better regulations. Testing for gluten (and robust testing) should be part of FDA’s codified gluten-free labeling rule.

      February 3, 2023 at 6:58 pm
  • agabou Reply

    Hi Tricia, on average what’s the price difference between oats produced via purity protocol process and other GF oats (say Mechanical or Optical sorted Oats)?

    February 13, 2023 at 9:36 am
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      I don’t know off the top of my head. This would take a bit of research but it would be interesting.

      February 15, 2023 at 2:32 pm
      • Tricia Thompson Reply

        There are images of errant grains in lentils in an article we authored and published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition. See However, it sounds like you are talking about flecks of material perhaps?

        February 15, 2023 at 2:38 pm
        • Simon Reply

          Thanks. Those are the images I was remembering. Not material. I think (hope) what I am looking at is an oat husk, not an errant grain. I will send a photo to the info email address.

          February 15, 2023 at 5:02 pm
  • Simon Reply

    I found some suspicious-looking particles in my oats. Are there images on the web of what wheat (or other grain) particles that contaminate oats might look like? Thanks.

    February 15, 2023 at 6:23 am

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