Oats have been a staple on many breakfast tables for decades due to their high fiber content, easy preparation and flexibility in flavor. While oats are a healthy food for most bodies, they can be a tricky ingredient to work with for anyone with celiac disease or sensitivity to gluten. Pure, uncontaminated oats are naturally gluten-free, but gluten is present in many packaged oat products due to the high prevalence of cross-contamination both in the field and in the processing facility. Often times, oats are grown and processed alongside gluten-rich foods such as barley, wheat and rye, increasing the risk of cross-contamination.
Recent changes in the manufacturing of oats has caused some in the gluten-free community to question whether oats labeled “gluten-free” are actually safe. Their concerns stem from a practice of growing “regular” oats, and then using mechanical and optical sorting techniques to clean the oats of gluten at the end of production.
The safer alternative to “gluten-free” oats is to use oats grown under Purity Protocol.
“While studies have found that oats are safe for the vast majority of those with celiac disease, they can be contaminated by wheat, rye or barley during farming, processing and storage.” - The Gluten-Free Certification Organization
What is Purity Protocol?
Purity Protocol provides greater transparency by taking a farm-to-table approach to ensuring products are gluten-free. To attain this distinction, the oats must reach “requirements for seed stock purity as well as criteria for harvesting, transport, storage, processing and manufacturing.” - The Gluten-Free Certification Organization
Strict vetting must take place during each phase of Purity Protocol Oat supply growing and processing:
Agreements are made with farmers allowing only gluten-free crops to be used in the same field as the oats, eliminating the risk of cross-contamination caused by wind.
Only dedicated gluten-free mills are used to process the crop. This is a large factor in reducing the contamination risk. As grains are processed, the fine particles are easily transferred. By processing oats in a dedicated gluten-free facility, this risk is greatly reduced.
Sealed and secured trucks handle all transport to food industry buyers. All vehicles and equipment used to transport the Purity Protocol oats are dedicated to this process and may not be used for handling a product containing gluten.
Together these steps make Purity Protocol oats the gold standard when it comes to gluten-free oats.
Gluten-Free Oats in 88 Acres Products
In a continuing attempt to make our supply chain as transparent as possible, 88 Acres switched to Purity Protocol Gluten-Free Oats in early May 2017. While 88 Acres has always used certified gluten-free oats, the switch to a Purity Protocol supplier allows us access to enhanced traceability of our ingredients, as well as a safe, consistent and high-quality gluten-free oat supply.
While it is more expensive for us to source Purity Protocol oats, we believe it’s necessary to continuously seek out the safest, highest quality ingredients for our products so as to ensure our customers can eat our foods with confidence.
If you have specific questions about our supply chain or the source of any of our ingredients, we welcome your emails and calls. As an allergy-friendly company, we understand that your dietary needs may require further detail, and we are happy to provide as much information as possible.