Confused about oats

Katarina Mollo MEd, RDN, LDN

Q: I have read both your & Gluten Free Watchdog’s statements on GF oats, purity protocols, testing methods, etc. My question is, if the product they are in is Certified Gluten Free, then do I really need to worry about what process was used? Because regardless, in the US, doesn’t the certification process mean that the product itself will have less than 20 ppm? This is the aspect that confuses me.


Great question! At NCA we recommend sources of oats that have used the “purity protocol” and tested to contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) gluten, as well as mechanically/optically sorted oats that have been rigorously tested to contain less than 20 ppm gluten.

Check with the manufacturer:

Is the product labeled or certified gluten-free?

What type of oats do they use - purity protocol or mechanical/optically sorted?

What are their testing protocols, and what type of test do they use? The R5 ELISA is regarded as the most reliable test.

In terms of gluten-free certifications - they vary, there are several different certifications that food companies use, most do not require testing of every batch, therefore even if the product is certified gluten-free it may still not be safe.

Read through our resources below to educate yourself on the different sources of oats to decide what is best for you.

Read more about our information about oats here:

Check out this post on oats:

Reviewed and updated October 5, 2022.

Note: This information is provided by NCA and Katarina Mollo MEd, RDN, LDN, NCA's Director of Education. This information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for personalized medical advice or replace any medical advice provided directly to you by your health care provider. No liability is assumed by the NCA or Katarina Mollo, MEd, RDN, LDN by providing this information.

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