Why does Oat Purity matter?
Here at GK Gluten-Free Foods, we have been the leaders in introducing GF Oats to Australian consumers. There is no doubt that other companies will begin to import other uncontaminated oats varieties into Australia and attempt to call them Gluten-free oats, which unfortunately is not in line with current Australian and New Zealand labelling guidelines.
For you as a consumer searching for gluten-free products that you trust, you need to be aware of the Pure Oats Protocol, which was established so customers could identity which oats were in fact pure oats meeting very strict nil gluten levels.
- Some oats being used in products labelled “Gluten-Free Oats” are not grown and processed with a “Purity Protocol”.
- At the 2015 AACCI conference, one manufacturer presenting mention they used mechanically sorted commodity oats in their “gluten-free” oat products. They stated that they average 10% of their samples testing over 20 parts per million (ppm) so with a statistical average they can meet the FDA standard. (see below for example)
Know where the oats in every product you purchase come from and how they were grown?
Ask these important questions of suppliers:
- Are the oats being used certified to<10ppm or less? Australia <3 ppm
- Are their oats grown with “Purity Protocol” steps?
- Pureplanting seed stock with pre-planting field history audits
- All equipment inspected and approved for gluten-free production
- Each field inspected prior to harvest by the company and 3rd party
- Harvested seed only stored in dedicated gluten-free grain storage
- Processed in a dedicated and certified gluten-free oat mill
- Packaged on a dedicated and certified gluten-free packaging line
- 3rd party audits showing the final product is certified gluten-free
- Ask if they use a blended test average on the oats they use?
Without a “Purity Protocol,” a mill must rely on mechanical processing to separate out the gluten-containing grains while processing 2,500 to 5000 lbs. of oats per hour.
What does 10 ppm look like? (US protocol)
- 10 dimes out of a bucket of 1,000,000 pennies as it passes by a machine.
- 13 gallons of material from an Olympic swimming pool with 660,000 gallons of water.
“Uncontaminated” or “Safe” oats were introduced and accepted into the gluten-free diet over the last decade by including all of the “Purity Protocol” steps. Not by just adding a machine into the process to try to remove the glutinous grains from common/commodity oats.
If the oat product you are using was not grown with this kind of care, ask yourself if it’s worth the risk.
In Australia, we test every batch of oats and display the results on our Compliance Page.