Are oats safe to eat on a wheat or gluten free diet?
Yes and no.
Oats contain avenin which is a protein similar to gluten.
Oats can be okay for people with wheat allergy or wheat intolerance, BUT most oats are produced in the same processing facility as wheat, barley, and rye which means that the risk of cross-contamination is high. Certified gluten free oats should always be sourced.
Oats can also be tolerated by some celiacs because the level of avenin is low, however, the same warning about cross-contamination applies, and therefore certified gluten free oats should be sourced. It is important to be aware that some celiacs are very sensitive to avenin even if uncontaminated oats are eaten and therefore should avoid oats in their diet.
Note: some packaging will state "pure oats" or "100% oats", this is not to be read as safe from cross-contamination of wheat, barley, or rye. It simply means that there are no other ingredients in the package and NOT that it is certified wheat or gluten free.
We also have more information on oats in our food fact file section.