Oats And Coeliac Disease – A Suitable Cereal Exists For Coeliac Sufferers

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Oats - ideal for coeliacs. Photo courtesy of 123rf.com
  • The vast majority of coeliacs can consume oats if they are stored away from wheat.
  • Some people with coeliac disease are sensitive to oats.

Oats and coeliac disease has long been discussed in many circles because of the need to find sources of carbohydrate which do not compromise the coeliac. Oats contain a storage protein called avenin which is similar in function to gluten found in wheat, barley or rye.

Oats must not be contaminated with other grains otherwise they are no longer ‘gluten-free’ and therefore not suitable for coeliacs. There are some coeliacs who are still sensitive to oats and it is worth consulting the coeliac’s UK web-site for further advice on viewpoints relating to the role of oats in the diet. It is worth mentioning that they contribute a source of fibre and clinical evidence backed up by EFSA recommends this cereal for its heart benefits.

Labelling of oats

Any product containing oats must be labelled according to regulations. Likewise, any grains containing glutens must also be listed not only within in the ingredient list but also marked out in bold to signify their allergenic status.

Oats that are not contaminated but are tested and show 20 parts per million (ppm) gluten or less may be labelled ‘gluten-free’.

In labeling terms, products containing oats products will often have statements such as ‘pure oats’, ‘100% oats’, or ‘organic’ oats. Coeliac UK are quite clear that such terms ‘do not tell you whether or not the product is free from contamination with gluten’. They have listed uncontaminated oats in their own Food and Drink Directory.

It’s a legal requirement for grains which contain gluten, including oats, to be listed in an ingredients list if they have been used as a deliberate ingredient, regardless of the amount used.

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