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Oats

  • Most people with coeliac disease can eat gluten-free oats.
  • Many standard oats are produced in the same place as wheat barley and rye, which makes them unsafe.
  • A very small number of people are still sensitive to uncontaminated oats.

Oats contain avenin, which is a protein similar to gluten. However, research has shown that most people with coeliac disease can safely eat avenin.

Problems can occur if oats are produced in the same place as wheat, barley and rye, as the oats can become contaminated with these other grains. Only oats which are uncontaminated can be eaten by people with coeliac disease.

There are a very small number of people with coeliac disease who may still be sensitive to gluten-free, uncontaminated oat products.

It’s up to you to decide whether to include gluten-free oats in your diet. Some people prefer not to try them. However, they:

  • can add variety to the gluten-free diet
  • are a good source of soluble fibre, which helps to keep a healthy gut, can help to treat high cholesterol and can help to keep blood sugars stable.

Oats and oat products that are not contaminated with other grains are listed in the Oats chapter of our current Food and Drink Directory.

Gluten-free oats may be introduced to the diet at any stage, however, a small percentage of people with coeliac disease are sensitive to gluten-free oats. If you have ongoing symptoms or any concerns whilst including gluten-free oats in your diet, please review their use with your health professional who can monitor you and give you specific advice. 

Labelling of oats

Oat products are often labelled as '100% oats', 'pure oats' or 'organic' oats. These terms do not tell you whether or not the product is free from contamination with gluten. We list uncontaminated oats in the 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. Read more about what to look for on food labels, to help you find out what is suitable for you.

Oats that are not contaminated that test at 20 parts per million (ppm) gluten or less may be labelled ‘gluten-free’.

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