Are Bob Red Mill oats really gluten free?

Oats are a nutritious and versatile grain that can be enjoyed by most people, including those who need to follow a gluten-free diet. Many people wonder if oats from Bob’s Red Mill, a popular brand of whole grain foods, are truly gluten-free.

What are oats?

Oats are whole grains that come from the Avena sativa grass plant. Oats contain fiber, protein, iron, and antioxidants. They are commonly eaten as oatmeal, added to baking recipes, and used as flour.

There are a few different types of oats:

  • Steel-cut oats – Whole oat groats that have been cut into pieces
  • Rolled oats – Oat groats that have been steamed and rolled flat
  • Quick oats – Oat groats that have been cut into smaller pieces before being rolled
  • Oat flour – Oats that have been ground into a fine powder

Oats do not naturally contain gluten. Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, rye and barley. However, oats are often processed in facilities that also handle gluten grains, which can lead to cross-contamination.

Are oats gluten-free?

Pure, uncontaminated oats are gluten-free. However, many experts recommend that people who need to avoid gluten stick to oats that are certified gluten-free, even if the oats themselves do not contain gluten.

This is because cross-contamination is common in facilities that process multiple grains. Even tiny amounts of gluten from stray wheat or barley can trigger symptoms for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

For oats to be considered gluten-free, they must contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. This strict cutoff protects the majority of those who are gluten-intolerant.

Warnings about oats from celiac organizations

Some celiac disease organizations used to caution against eating oats at all, even gluten-free oats. However, most have updated their stance to approve certified gluten-free oats.

For example, the Celiac Disease Foundation now says:

“Many celiac disease researchers endorse the use of pure, uncontaminated oats as safe for people with celiac disease to consume. Consuming contaminated oats is not recommended because small amounts of gluten from other grains are likely to be present.”

The Celiac Disease Society of America makes a similar recommendation:

“Oats free from contamination by wheat, rye and barley during growing and processing can be safely consumed by most people with celiac disease.”

So as long as you choose oats labeled “gluten-free,” eating oats is now thought to be safe for most people who are gluten-intolerant.

Are Bob’s Red Mill oats gluten-free?

Yes, Bob’s Red Mill oats are certified gluten-free. The company tests all of its oat products to verify gluten levels are under 20 ppm.

Bob’s Red Mill is aware of the cross-contamination risks when processing oats and takes steps to avoid any gluten exposure:

  • Grows a portion of their oats on their own gluten-free and certified organic farms
  • Uses dedicated equipment to harvest and mill the oats
  • Packages the oats in their own gluten-free facility
  • Regularly tests the final products to ensure no gluten cross-contamination

Bob’s Red Mill also states their oats are suitable for those with celiac disease on their website and packaging. Their oats carry the Certified Gluten-Free seal from the Gluten Intolerance Group, an independent certification organization.

So you can feel confident that Bob’s Red Mill oatmeal and oat flours tested below 20 ppm gluten and are safe to eat on a gluten-free diet.

Types of Bob’s Red Mill oats

Bob’s Red Mill offers many different oat products that are gluten-free. Some of their most popular include:

Steel cut oats

Also called Irish or Scottish oats, steel cut oats are whole oat groats that have been chopped into pieces. Bob’s Red Mill steel cut oats take about 15-20 minutes to cook.

Old fashioned rolled oats

These are made from steamed and rolled whole oat groats. Bob’s Red Mill old fashioned oats take about 5 minutes to cook.

Quick oats

Bob’s Red Mill quick oats are made from cut oat groats that are rolled flat for faster cooking. Their quick oats are ready in just 1-2 minutes.

Oat bran

Oat bran is made from the outer husk of the oat groat. It cooks faster than steel cut oats and contains extra fiber.

Oat flour

Bob’s Red Mill oat flour is freshly milled from whole, gluten-free oats. It can be substituted for up to 20% of the flour in baking recipes.

Large flake oats

Their large flake oats are lightly rolled from whole oat groats. They are perfect for making oatmeal cookies and granola.

Gluten free rolled oats

Bob’s Red Mill rolled oats are available in both a dedicated gluten-free version and a standard version. Both are certified gluten-free, but the gluten-free rolled oats get extra processing in their separate facility.

Are Bob’s Red Mill oats processed safely?

Yes, Bob’s Red Mill has stringent practices in place to prevent any gluten cross-contamination of their oats:

  • Grows and harvests gluten-free oats on their own farms in North Dakota and Saskatchewan
  • Uses dedicated equipment from harvest through milling
  • Packages oats in a separate gluten-free facility in Milwaukie, Oregon
  • Extensive sanitation and testing protocols to keep all areas gluten-free
  • Gluten-free oats are processed first thing in the morning before other grains are run
  • Regularly tests products to ensure gluten levels are below 5 ppm

Bob’s Red Mill also maintains transparency with their processing. Their facilities are regularly audited by third-parties. Audit results showing they follow proper procedures are available on their website.

Thanks to this meticulous care taken during growing, harvesting and processing, Bob’s Red Mill oats are reliably gluten-free and safe for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

Nutrition of Bob’s Red Mill oats

All types of Bob’s Red Mill oats provide the same nutrition profile in an easy to digest whole grain form.

A 1⁄4 cup serving of uncooked oats provides:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 150
Protein 5 g
Carbs 27 g
Fiber 4 g
Fat 3 g
Iron 10% DV
Thiamine 11% DV

Oats also contain antioxidants like avenanthramide, which helps prevent free radical damage. The beta-glucan fiber in oats can reduce cholesterol levels and regulate blood sugar as well.

So oatmeal and oat products from Bob’s Red Mill provide a gluten-free source of nutrients like:

  • Fiber
  • Protein
  • B vitamins
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Antioxidants

Are there any cross-contamination risks?

Bob’s Red Mill oats are processed separately from gluten-containing grains to avoid cross-contamination. But there are a few things to keep in mind if you need to avoid all traces of gluten:

Facility production

While Bob’s Red Mill does batch their gluten-free oats first thing in the morning before processing other grains, their facilities are not 100% gluten-free. Other wheat and barley products are packaged in the same buildings.

So if your celiac symptoms are triggered by extremely small amounts of gluten, you may want to stick to oat brands processed only in dedicated gluten-free facilities.

Restaurant preparation

Ordering oatmeal made with Bob’s Red Mill oats at a restaurant may carry some minimal risk. The oats themselves should be gluten-free, but there is a small chance of cross-contact during preparation depending on the precautions taken by the restaurant.

If you are highly sensitive, you may want to check that the restaurant uses dedicated gluten-free prep and cooking areas before consuming their oatmeal.

The verdict on Bob’s Red Mill oats

Bob’s Red Mill oats are a reliable gluten-free choice, based on stringent growing, harvesting and processing protocols that prevent contamination. Their oats are:

  • Sourced from dedicated gluten-free farms
  • Processed on dedicated equipment
  • Regularly tested to ensure under 20 ppm gluten
  • Certified gluten-free by independent organization

So Bob’s Red Mill oats can be considered gluten-free according to both FDA regulations and recommendations from celiac organizations. Eating their oats is safe for anyone following a gluten-free diet due to celiac disease, wheat allergy or other health issues.

Just keep in mind that their facilities are not totally gluten-free. As with any product, there is always a slight possibility of trace amounts of cross-contamination. If you are highly sensitive to gluten, you may want to take extra precautions.

But for most people who need to eat gluten-free, Bob’s Red Mill produces high-quality, nutritious oats that can be enjoyed without concern.

Other frequently asked questions

Will Bob’s Red Mill oats make me sick if I have celiac disease?

No, Bob’s Red Mill oats should not make someone with celiac disease sick. Their oats are certified gluten-free to levels safe for those with celiac and gluten issues. Many celiac organizations now say pure, uncontaminated oats like Bob’s Red Mill are safe for most people with celiac disease.

Are Bob’s Red Mill oats processed in a shared facility?

Yes, Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free oats are processed in facilities that also handle wheat and other gluten-containing grains. However, they follow rigorous procedures to avoid any cross-contact with gluten.

Are Bob’s Red Mill quick oats gluten-free?

Yes, Bob’s Red Mill 1-minute quick oats are certified gluten-free, just like their other oat products. They are a convenient gluten-free oatmeal option.

Are all Bob’s Red Mill oatmeal gluten-free?

Yes, all Bob’s Red Mill oats and oatmeal varieties are tested to be gluten-free to under 20 ppm, including their steel cut oats, old fashioned oats, oat bran and rolled oats.

Is oat fiber from Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free?

Bob’s Red Mill oat fiber is certified gluten-free, as it is produced from their gluten-free oat sources. Oat fiber makes a great addition to gluten-free baked goods.

Are Bob’s Red Mill thick cut oats gluten-free?

Yes, Bob’s Red Mill extra thick cut oats are certified gluten-free. They contain gluten-free rolled oats that are sliced slightly thicker than regular rolled oats.

The bottom line

In conclusion, Bob’s Red Mill oats are considered gluten-free according to strict standards from reputable gluten-free organizations. Their extensive testing and handling precautions ensure their oat products are uncontaminated.

Bob’s Red Mill oatmeal and oat flours provide a safe, nutritious gluten-free option full of fiber, protein and other nutrients. People with celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or any form of gluten intolerance can enjoy Bob’s Red Mill oats as part of a healthy gluten-free diet.

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