Quaker Gluten-Free Oats

Quaker Gluten-Free Oats

Quaker is now manufacturing “gluten-free” oat products using a “proprietary method for removing stray grains.” Quaker joins General Mills and Grain Millers (house brand Country Choice) in the marketing of oats not grown under a purity protocol to the gluten-free community. This morning Gluten Free Watchdog sent an email to Quaker asking them to provide us with information about their proprietary grain removal process and testing protocols.

UPDATE: Quaker responded to my email confirming that they are using optical and mechanical sorting to remove stray grains from their oats. They have asked to meet with me to explain their process, answer my questions, and hear my perspective. I will keep the community updated (Please see updated post with additional information from Quaker https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/quaker-gluten-free-oatmeal-take-two/). *For an excerpt of the email response from Quaker (posted here with permission) please see the end of the post.

UPDATE: October 28, 2015: Quaker emailed a fact sheet on their Gluten Free Oatmeal. Click PDF GF Fact Sheet to view.

In 2004, Quaker was one of three brands of oats I tested for gluten contamination. The findings of this testing were published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Quaker oats were the “dirtiest” of the three brands tested (338 ppm to 1807 ppm of gluten depending on the lot). For this reason, it is very important that Quaker provide us with detailed information on their “cleaning” and testing protocols. For more information on the study, including a table of test results click HERE.


If you eat oats and it is important to you that the oats are produced following a gluten-free purity protocol, please source your oats directly from GF Harvest, Avena, and Montana Gluten-Free. Marshall Gluten-Free Milling also will be supplying oats produced under a purity protocol to manufacturers soon. These are the suppliers who work directly with the growers.

Please ask every other manufacturer of gluten-free oat-based products where they source their oats. Many manufacturers source from the above-mentioned suppliers; some do not. Note that Grain Millers also supplies gluten-free manufacturers with oats. These oats are NOT grown under a gluten-free purity protocol as defined below.

Suppliers (i.e., those dealing directly with the growers) of Oats Grown under a Gluten-Free Protocol

GF Harvest

Current gluten-free protocol confirmed on July 22, 2015:

  • Oats are planted only on fields that have not grown glutinous grains for at least two years
  • Pure gluten free seed is used for planting
  • Fields are hand rogued to eliminate any possible contamination at least three times between planting and harvest
    • The grower is responsible for rogueing
    • GF Harvest inspectors are in every field of oats we contract
    • 3rd party crop inspectors are also utilized
  • Oats are harvested and transported in equipment that has been inspected and approved by us for our gluten free production
    • The combines are inspected and each grower has been trained on proper cleaning techniques
  • Oats are processed in our own dedicated GFCO Certified gluten-free oat facility
  • A combination of RidaScreen Elisa R5 and RidaQuick Gluten testing is conducted on all incoming seed stock and after processing
  • Independent lab gliadin testing is performed on each batch

Montana Gluten-Free

Current gluten-free purity protocol confirmed on July 17, 2015:

  • Oats are planted only on fields that have not grown gluten grains for 4 years
  • Pure gluten free seed is planted
  • Fields are hand rogued to eliminate any possible contamination
    • The grower is responsible for rogueing
    • Each field is inspected by a Montana Gluten Free inspector prior to harvest to assure that the rogueing was thorough and the field is clean
  • Oats are harvested and transported in certified clean dedicated equipment
    • The combines are inspected and each grower has been trained to clean equipment
  • Oats are processed in a dedicated gluten-free facility
  • Redundant ELISA R5 testing is conducted before and after processing (since 2012 Montana Gluten-Free also uses the ELISA G12)

Avena Foods

Current gluten-free purity protocol confirmed July 21, 2015:

  • Select growers attend workshops to learn the requirements for growing gluten-free oats
  • Only pure pedigreed seed is used
  • Fields used to grow gluten-free oats are
    • Required to follow specified crop rotation protocol
    • Surrounded by an isolation strip
    • Inspected
  • All machinery and equipment is either thoroughly cleaned or dedicated
  • Oats are processed in a dedicated gluten-free facility
  • Oats are tested using R5 ELISA Methodology

Marshall Gluten-Free Milling

Farm certified gluten-free oats should be available by October. Please read about the protocol HERE.


*Excerpt of email from Quaker:

“Given your commitment to serving the best interests of the celiac community – which I sincerely appreciate as a celiac myself – we would welcome the opportunity to have a discussion around the steps we’re taking to produce a product that meets the FDA standard for gluten free.

You are correct that we use optical and mechanical sorting to remove stray grains from our oats. And you are also correct in saying that we understand the concern in the community given the current climate and the challenges in cleaning oats. As is always the case, the quality of our products and safety of our consumers is our number one priority – we take entering the gluten free market very seriously.  Quaker has been leading the way when it comes to oats for nearly 140 years, and our milling experts have invested years to ensure we do this the right way.

We do believe that Quaker has uncovered an unlock to cleaning oats. As someone who’s also spent a lot of time looking into gluten free oats, we would love to schedule a phone call or face-to-face meeting in the coming weeks to answer your questions and gain your perspective.”


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Comments (13)

  • Elisha Reply

    I thought GF Chex oats were also deemed safe? Is that not true?

    October 22, 2015 at 2:21 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      Keep in mind that the suppliers of pure oats listed above are the folks working directly with the growers. Gluten-free manufacturers may or may not source from a supplier of pure oats. You have to ask. The Chex gluten-free oatmeal has been discontinued.

      October 22, 2015 at 2:23 pm
      • Michelle Reply

        So I never heard about the chef oatmeal recall and have a bag in my pantry….. so they were deemed not gluten free then?

        October 22, 2015 at 11:18 pm
        • Tricia Thompson Reply

          The Chex oatmeal was not recalled just discontinued.

          October 22, 2015 at 11:34 pm
          • Donna Bruton

            I have a bag of gluten free Chex ganola mix, honey nut flavor. It says it is new, and gluten free, but doesn’t say anything about how the oats are grown. I know it’s a General Mills product. Do you think this is safe?

            October 23, 2015 at 11:13 pm
          • Tricia Thompson

            Donna, I do not know the source of oats in the Chex granola mix.

            October 23, 2015 at 11:25 pm
  • Jennifer Reply

    So, what about Bobs Redmill GF oats? I thought they are certified? Maybe I thought wrong? Those are by far the easiest to get.

    October 22, 2015 at 3:59 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      Jennifer, you will have to ask Bob’s Red Mill directly where they source their gluten-free oats.

      October 22, 2015 at 4:01 pm
    • Kathleen Reply

      Jennifer, Bob’s Red Mill states on their website that their GF oats are from pedigreed seeds grown on dedicated farms, processed in their GF facility, and that they perform Elisa R5 testing. I’m a very sensitive celiac and their GF oats have never made me sick.

      October 22, 2015 at 7:34 pm
  • Jen Reply

    Anyone know about Trader Joe’s gluten free oatmeal?

    October 23, 2015 at 12:51 am
  • Shandra hop Reply

    I was wondering the same thing about Trader Joe’s oatmeal…anyone know how safe they are/are not?

    October 26, 2015 at 7:50 am
  • Stephanie Reply

    Hello Ms. Thompson, I have one question; Does the Purity Protocol mention whether or not a crop is allowed to be or has been dessicated with a “green burn-down” agent such as glysophate or the generic equivalent before harvest
    ? Thank you.

    July 24, 2016 at 3:05 am
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      Hi Stephanie, Purity protocols for oats were developed to address and prevent/minimize cross-contact with gluten-containing grains.

      July 24, 2016 at 11:00 pm

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