Why are Quaker Oats not Gluten Free? Info and Alternative

  • Quaker oats are sold as gluten free.
  • Quaker oats are not entirely gluten free.
  • Cross-contamination leads to a small amount of gluten content in them.
  • One can grow them to have pure oats, especially in their field.

Why are Quaker Oats not gluten free? Oats have recently joined the bandwagon of health foods; few were aware of its health benefits a decade ago. In addition, oats are the preferred breakfast food in many countries. 

Oats can be made with milk and fruits and enjoyed like cereal. It can also be made with spices and vegetables and relished like a savory dish.

Oats are gluten free, making them the number one food choice for those who have Celiac disease or those who want to restrict gluten consumption in their diet.

 But, recently, there has been a buzz about Quaker oats not being entirely gluten free. Keep reading to learn more …

Are Quaker oats gluten free, and why not?

Why are Quaker Oats not Gluten Free?
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Quaker oats are naturally gluten free, but various factors like farming, transportation, and storage could lead to cross-contamination. 

Rye, barley, and wheat grains contain gluten. These grains are often present in the same warehouses as oats. They are all stored together and later, even processed, transported, and packed together. 

Although Quaker oats are labeled as “gluten free” on packages and available in stores under the “gluten free” product range, they may have traces of gluten. 

While this may not be a significant concern for those who want to restrict gluten consumption in their diet, this minor contamination may gravely affect those who are highly gluten-allergic.

Cross Contamination in Quaker Oats, making them Non-gluten free

Around 2 million people in the United States have celiac disease (source). These people have been prescribed a gluten free diet as an effective treatment. However, even a tiny amount of gluten in their diet can cause health concerns. 

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While oats do not naturally contain gluten, cross-contamination is highly likely. Wheat, barley, rye, and oats grow together in fields, so cross-contamination is highly possible. 

A small amount of gluten from these grains also enters oats during transportation, processing, storage, or packaging. Therefore, such oats may be unfit for celiacs.

When a person with celiac eats gluten, it triggers an immune system response in the small intestine. Over time, continuous consumption of gluten may corrode the small intestine lining, preventing it from absorbing essential nutrients. 

Eating gluten free oats is safe for people with celiac disease. But, one needs to look for labels and options that are guaranteed gluten free. Quaker oats may or may not have gluten and are not a safe choice for celiacs.

Gluten free Label on Oats

Why are Quaker Oats not Gluten Free?

Per the rule passed in 2013, manufacturers can voluntarily mark their products as gluten free, making themselves accountable for the claim. However, manufacturers must also meet all the requirements according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for their labeling:

Any foods with the labels “gluten free,” “Free of Gluten,” “No Gluten,” and “Without Gluten” must have less than 20 parts per million of gluten content. This is the lowest detectable amount using available scientific methods. Therefore, any food product with these labels is safe for consumption. 

The logos and labels on some foods do not pass through the FDA. They only meet the FDA’s requirements. You can get some foods explicitly tested in the laboratory to know precisely.

You need to check the labels carefully while buying. If you are doubtful about the gluten content, it is better to call the company and ask for specifications. Alternatively, you can also eat rice or any other grains that are guaranteed gluten free.

Gluten free alternatives to Quaker oats

There are many alternatives to using Quaker oats if  you cannot consume even a tiny amount of gluten:

  • Take a small number of Quinoa flakes and blend them in the grinder to get oats-like consistency. You can use this quinoa instead of Quaker oats.
  • One can also try Quaker Large Rice Cakes and Popped Rice Crisps from the Quaker brand that is gluten free.
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Most Common Question on Oats

  1. How much gluten is in Quaker Instant Oatmeal?

Quaker Instant Oatmeal has less than 20 ppm of gluten. This is a minimal amount and is generally not problematic for people with Celiac Disease or Gluten-Intolerance. 

But, it is also important to remember that it is next to impossible to get an absolutely

gluten free Quaker oats product.

  1. Which oats are gluten free?

Pure oats are entirely gluten free. But one needs to grow them specifically without increasing any other gluten-containing grain next to them. Most brands available on the market have a small content of gluten in them.

  1. How do you remove gluten from oats?

It is not easy to remove gluten seeds from oats. Processed oats like Quaker oats may not have visible gluten seeds traces. 

It is better to grow your oats in a separate field and process them in dedicated machines so that there is no question of gluten contamination. 

  1. How do you know if your oats are gluten free?

It is impossible to determine whether oats are gluten free before consumption. Firstly, buy oats that are labeled as “pure,” “uncontaminated,” “gluten free,” or “certified gluten free.” 

Next, eat up to 50g of dry gluten free oats daily to check whether you develop any reaction. If not, slowly increase the quantity and monitor your health. 

  1. Are Quaker oats good for you?

Oats are incredibly healthy grains. They are naturally gluten free and power-packed with minerals, vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. Both oats and oatmeal have various health benefits. 

These aid in lowering blood sugar levels and weight loss. Oats have also shown results in reducing the risk of heart disease.

Conclusion

Oats are naturally gluten free. But, the processing, transporting, and packaging process leads to cross-contamination. 

However, some companies are cautious about cross-contamination and indulge only in oats farming so that there is no question of cross-contamination. 

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You can eat a small portion of a particular brand of oats to check whether it suits your body or not. You can also try different varieties of quaker oats to see if they suit you or not. 

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About the Author: Johnny

I am the senior editor and writer of Gluten Free Heroes, before that, I wrote for various well established online magazines about food and health. I love working out, traveling and eating healthy.