Are oats safe to eat on a wheat or gluten free diet?

Yes and no.

Oats are normally okay for people with wheat allergy or intolerance to wheat. 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 wheat/gluten free oats should be sourced.

Oats can be tolerated by some celiacs because the level of avenin (a protein similar to gluten) is very low, however the same warning about cross-contamination applies, and therefore certified wheat/gluten free oats should be sourced for safety. It is important to be aware that some celiacs are also very sensitive to avenin, even if uncontaminated oats are eaten.

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, NOT that it is certified wheat or gluten free.

We also have more information on oats in our food fact file section.

(updated 07/17/13)