Are Australian Oats Gluten-Free?

Kylie Hollonds
Celebrating our Australian Made Products


We are super excited to be celebrating Australian-made week here at GF Oats Australia, from the 24th – 30th May.

It has taken a pandemic to make us realise that supporting Aussie based businesses and Aussie made products is a key to sustainability here on this island for us now and future generations.

We are proud to be Australian-based here on the Darling Downs, Toowoomba, Qld. We strive to source, make, and create everything we can from Australian suppliers, however it is not always possible. Let’s pull this apart and share with you where we are at.

Choosing as much Australian content as we can

When Kylie began importing her GF oats, she realised that the American-style printed packaging did not fit with our core values. Now, be aware that until this year we have not been able to source gluten-free oats or uncontaminated oats here in Australia at all. So, we decided that we would bring in the largest quantities I could from our farmers in the US, that being 22.67kg bags and down pack it utilising all the Australian suppliers we could. We partnered with Endeavour Industries and have continued to work and grow with them each year. It’s a fabulous partnership and they are now packing in excess of 150 tonne for us at the moment to distribute around Australia and New Zealand.

Our supplies include packaging companies, marketing teams, consultants and now manufacturers are all based here in Australia and some here in Toowoomba. Our biscuits are baked and packed here on the Downs. Unfortunately, with regards to the ingredients in the biscuits, it is a struggle, nahhh, actually impossible to source commercial quantities of the ingredients we use to achieve the benefits we know our customers need to manage their dietary and lifestyle choices, aka - Gluten Friendly, Dairy Free, Vegan and Refined Sugar Free.

This year we are very proud to announce that we are launching the very first Aussie Gluten Free Oats. We will be sharing this product nationally as Gluten Friendly and internationally as Aussie Gluten Free Oats. We have launched our new website seeking expressions of interest from overseas buyers.

These are the very first oats in Australia that meet the strict nil gluten detected guidelines set out by Food Stands Australia.

We encourage you all to look carefully at the products you are purchasing, reach out to the companies and inquire about their Aussie Made policy. Understand that many ingredients and products can only be sourced from overseas. But we are proud to be doing the best we can to be conscious of supporting Australia businesses wherever we can.

We thank our customers for supporting an Australian owned company.


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The Difference between a Wheat Free Label and a Gluten Friendly Label?

Kylie Hollonds

In Australia we can’t call any product containing oats gluten free!

It is true that we are unable to label oats as “gluten free oats “in Australia at the moment. This law was based on a study published in 2006 using mainstream oats, where nobody knew about the cross contamination. So, they got gluten reading when they tested the oats and concluded that oats contained gluten. Gluten is the word to describe the prolamin protein fraction in grains such as gliadin in wheat, hordein in barley, secalin in rye and the avenin in oats. Fast forward to 2021 after a number of studies completed overseas (here are the links) it has been discovered that oats are in fact quite different to their counterparts and in fact gluten is a combination of proteins which effectively is the gluten that helps food stay together or maintains it shape e.g: bread. If you try and make a loaf of bread from just oat flour, guess what?  It falls apart. Studies indicate overseas that 1 in 100 Coeliac reacted to uncontaminated oats or gluten free oats, however of this study no one suffered any long-term effects. It is recommended here that a coeliac has an oat study prior to consuming our oats.

With the advent of agriculture, wheat has emerged as the most commonly eaten grain globally. Due to its unparalleled rise as a wholesome and nutritious food, wheat found a place as an ingredient in a vast majority of food products. However despite its exalted status wheat and wheat containing foods are a cause of allergies and irritation to many people across the globe. An increased prevalence of wheat allergy or wheat intolerance has created a sudden spurt in the demand of wheat free foods.

The interesting thing though is that there is NO food standards guidelines when it comes to labelling a product ‘Wheat free’ here in Australia with regards to Oats. So if you see a product which solely claims they are ‘Wheat Free’ – we don’t actually know what the gluten testing threshold is here. Does it mean it has <10ppm contamination, 20ppm contamination – there are no guidelines. So I see this as a real problem. 

Gluten is an ingredient found in many grains including wheat. In fact, the gluten found in wheat is called gliadin. Some individuals, who are allergic to wheat, can eat foods which are wheat free but are made from gluten containing grains. Some such grains, which contain gluten and can be eaten as a part of wheat free diet, are rye, barley, spelt and oats. So, if oats are in fact ONLY labelled as ‘wheat free oats’ this could mean that they are cross contaminated with these other gluten containing grains. 

The term ‘gluten friendly’ has been coined on menus lately to communicate that a product may have been cooked in an environment that contains gluten containing foods. Essentially, they are trying to protect themselves and only cater for those who are allergic with the ‘gluten free’ claim as it is such a small group in comparison to the larger growing ‘gluten intolerance group’. 

GF Oats has decided to use the term ‘gluten friendly’ on their packaging communicating to our ‘gluten intolerance’ customers that these our oats are good to go for them. Coeliac patients are encouraged to follow the society guidelines. 

 Remember that wheat free does not mean a product is ‘gluten free’ as other grains contain gluten. ‘Gluten free’ does however mean a product is wheat free’.

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What we can call gluten free and what we can't?

Kylie Hollonds

Gluten Free Labelling Laws in Australia

Here in Australia, you will see foods labelled as gluten free, gluten friendly and low gluten – What do these mean?

FSANZ’s is our labelling governing body here in Australia and their role is to protect the health and safety of people in Australia and New Zealand through the maintenance of safe food supply.  FSANZ stands for Food Safety Australia and New Zealand and is a strong independent body of experts on a panel, that has a partnership between the Commonwealth; Australian States and Territories; and New Zealand. One of the panellists includes a member of the Coeliac Society of Australia, representing those who have an allergy to gluten and are required to follow gluten free diets. 

FSANZ is responsible for developing, varying and reviewing standards and for developing codes of conduct with industry for food available in Australia and New Zealand covering labelling, composition and contaminants.  In Australia, FSANZ also develops food standards for food safety, maximum residue limits, primary production and processing and a range of other functions including the coordination of national food surveillance and recall systems, conducting research and assessing policies about imported food.

Australia & New Zealand labelling laws:

Our 2 countries are very tough when it comes to labelling laws and when you compare the laws here to other countries they are the toughest in the world.

Australia and New Zealand have the toughest labelling laws in the world; these have been set by the Australia New Zealand Food Standard's Code. This gives a great deal of confidence when choosing food for people with coeliac disease in Australia.

Gluten Free Labelling:  Foods labelled as “gluten free” must not contain any detectable gluten; and no oats or their products; or cereals containing gluten that have used malt or their products. Nil gluten equals <3ppm which is the lowest the machines can test down to.  In our online store, we can label our Honey as gluten free honey, we can label our soap as gluten free soap, but we are unable to label our oats as gluten free oats or our biscuits as gluten free biscuits, so we label them as gluten friendly.

Gluten Friendly is a term that is entering the market, seen on the menu’s around the country in restaurants, clubs & cafes. This is generally to protect the venues from any cross-contamination. The fact is unless you are eating at a dedicated gluten free venue, there is always a chance of cross-contamination. No matter how diligent the food prep is. In the case of GF Oats products, we are communicating that the product is safe for those avoiding gluten, not contaminated to gluten. This enables us to communicate our brand benefits to the customers who need us to comply with Food labelling guidelines.

Low gluten is another term you will see coined, however, the true definition of that is that the product tests to <20ppm. This is fine for people who are moderately sensitive to gluten. The difference between 3ppm and 20 seems small until you have an allergy to gluten, then this can make a difference. 

There is currently a study being conducted at the Monash University on oats, funded by the Coeliac Society, as part of the movements towards labelling uncontaminated oats as gluten free here Australia to avoid the confusion of being the only country in the world that doesn't make the label claim. 

Please refer to our FAQ's and Compliance Page for further clarification and study links. 


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GF Oats Compliance - Why trust us?

Kylie Hollonds

GK Gluten Free Foods are the largest Australian importers and suppliers of Uncontaminated oats or Gluten-Free Oats as it is referred to in other parts of the world, however, in Australia, a subclause in the labelling laws continues to prevent the labelling of any oats to be gluten-free.

GF Oats are the only brand in Australia, who import bulk oats from “Purity Protocol” growers around the world, who certify their oats as uncontaminated from the gluten found in wheat, rye and barley, and meet Australia’s strict gluten-free minimum testing guidelines.

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GF Oats Allergen Statement

Kylie Hollonds
If you know Kylie’s story you will know that she and her family have been living with food intolerances and allergies for over 25 years now. So, this is very familiar territory, a passion that turned into her legacy, to supply people with healthy nutritious foods that support a variety of dietary requirements and ensure that their foods are free of the top 10 allergens listed on the FSANAZ website that people are sensitive to.  

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