Not all Gluten-free oats are created equal.
In today’s gluten-free frenzy environment, many food manufacturers are now producing gluten-free oat products with a variety of ‘cleansing’ processes to clean or separate gluten contaminants from oats, rather than following a purity protocol process. This includes small, medium and large specialty and mainstream manufacturers whose interest align more with economics than the purity of the oats. From both an economic and capacity perspective, it is easy to understand why these companies have deviated from the purity protocol process. The cost of oats from growers and processors who follow purity protocol is approximately twice the cost of commodity oats and there is not sufficient supply to satisfy demand of cereal companies such as General Mills, Quaker or Nature’s Path, who all use sorting practices instead of purity protocol. However, this deviation to a method that optically or mechanically cleanses or sorts gluten contaminates from oats has resulted in gluten levels that far exceed 20ppm gluten and have caused illness and class action lawsuits.
Since its inception, Glutenfreeda has always followed and supported the purity protocol process for gluten-free oats and although nearly all of our competitors have chosen to source oats from growers and processors who also process wheat, rye and barley at a lower cost, we remain true to our original principles and steadfastly follow the purity protocol process from farm to table. We are proud to ONLY source from oat manufactures who practice purity protocol. Our key suppliers, Avena Foods and GF Harvest are leaders in the industry with impeccable standards.
Glutenfreeda Foods and our oat suppliers are listed on the Gluten Free Watchdog’s list as a manufacture and supplier who produce under a gluten-free purity protocol. The Gluten Free Watchdog, (glutenfreewatchdog.org), founded by Tricia Thompson, MS, RD, is a website that makes state-of-the-art gluten-free food testing data on packaged products available to consumers.
What is Purity Protocol?
Purity protocol specifies how oats can be grown and handled to prevent any cross-contamination with wheat or other gluten-containing grains. The challenge with oats is that they’re normally grown, harvested, transported and stored alongside gluten-containing grains and they are typically a rotation crop to gluten grains. Purity Protocol begins with the farmers, the soil and the seed.
To ensure all gluten-containing grains are virtually eliminated from the fields, growers are required to have a three-year gluten-free crop rotation. In addition, a three-meter isolation strip is mandatory for fields growing Avena Oats and all seeds used are pedigreed seed supported by a signed copy of the seed declaration.
Annual field inspections are conducted annually to ensure fields are not showing signs of gluten-containing crops. Once the crop is mature and harvested, a pre-cleaned harvest sample is sent to a third-party lab for analysis. Samples are visually inspected to determine purity of the field.
Once the grower has cleaned the grain, another samples are sent to a third-party lab for purity checks and another purity screen.
The transport trucks are cleaned prior to hauling with the paperwork attached to the grain documentations.
At delivery, a thorough visual inspection is done on each kernel in a portion sample. From the composite sample, raw grains are grounded to a powder and a quick gluten test is performed using the RIDA QUICK Gliadin R7003 test kit, then the grain is ready to run through production.
The Avena Foods milling site is a dedicated, certified gluten-free facility and is certified by the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) of North America, which is verified and validated by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO). GFCO inspects Avena’s products and manufacturing facility to ensure the program standards are never compromised and that the gluten level is always less than 10 parts per million (ppm) or less.
To ensure products are not contaminated with gluten during transportation, new pallets are used, trailers are ensured to be free of gaps and inspected prior to final sealing of the load to preserve the integrity of the product during transportation.
Each shipment is uniquely traceable back to individual growers and their fields.
Purity Protocol requires a rigorous process and requires a dedicated commitment to providing the highest quality, SAFE, gluten-free oats. Glutenfreeda and its oat suppliers continue to make this commitment.