Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. For people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, consuming gluten can cause serious health issues. As a result, these individuals must follow a strict gluten-free diet and avoid foods containing gluten.
With so many people now avoiding gluten, food manufacturers have responded by producing a variety of gluten-free options. But what about popular breakfast cereals, like Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes? Are these gluten-free and safe for people with gluten restrictions?
The Short Answer
Yes, Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes is certified gluten-free. Kellogg’s states that all Frosted Flakes flavors contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. This level is generally considered safe for people with celiac disease or sensitivities.
About Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes
Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes is one of the most iconic cereals ever created. It features crispy, golden corn flakes with a sweet frosting. The original Frosted Flakes first hit the market in 1952 under the name Sugar Frosted Flakes. Since then, it has become a pantry staple for generations. Some fun facts about Frosted Flakes:
- Frosted Flakes mascot Tony the Tiger has been appearing in ads since the 1950s. His catchphrase is “They’re grrrrrreat!”
- Besides the original, there are Frosted Flakes flavors like Frosted Flakes Chocolate, Birthday Confetti, and Frosted Flakes with Marshmallows.
- Kellogg’s sells Frosted Flakes worldwide under names like Frosties (UK and Ireland) and Zucaritas (Latin America).
- Over 2.5 billion bowls of Frosted Flakes are consumed each year.
Gluten Information from Kellogg’s
On its website, Kellogg’s clearly states that Frosted Flakes are gluten-free:
“All Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes flavors contain zero grams of gluten per serving. Kellogg’s tests Frosted Flakes to ensure that all flavors of this cereal contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) gluten.”
Kellogg’s also notes that its manufacturing facilities are informed by gluten-free standards and routinely cleaned to avoid cross-contamination. Additionally, the corn used in Frosted Flakes is not genetically engineered.
Beyond Kellogg’s own assurances, Frosted Flakes carries major gluten-free certifications:
- Certified Gluten-Free by GFCO. This means the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) has independently tested Frosted Flakes and confirmed it meets requirements for gluten-free status.
- Verified by NSF. NSF International verifies that Frosted Flakes meets gluten-free standards and its manufacturing meets requirements to avoid cross-contamination.
These recognized certifications provide added assurance that Frosted Flakes truly are gluten-free.
What About Oats in Frosted Flakes?
Some people may wonder about the fact that Frosted Flakes contains oats. Oats are inherently gluten-free, but are often contaminated with gluten because they’re grown near wheat fields.
However, Kellogg’s states that the oats used in Frosted Flakes are guaranteed gluten-free. They are grown in dedicated fields and processed in certified gluten-free facilities. So the oats should not present an issue.
Is There Any Risk of Cross-Contamination?
While Kellogg’s takes steps to avoid cross-contamination, there is a slight possibility it could occur:
- Shared manufacturing equipment – If equipment is used for multiple products containing gluten, traces could get into Frosted Flakes.
- Shared facilities – Kellogg’s has some shared facilities, which could allow small amounts of gluten to be present.
However, any gluten from cross-contamination would likely be at very low levels. And Frosted Flakes is routinely tested to confirm gluten levels remain under 20 ppm.
The certifications also require steps to prevent cross-contamination. So while a miniscule amount of gluten may possibly find its way into Frosted Flakes on occasion, it is unlikely at amounts that would cause issues for most gluten-sensitive individuals.
What Do Celiac Organizations Say?
Major celiac disease and gluten intolerance organizations generally recognize Frosted Flakes as safe:
- The Celiac Disease Foundation (CDF) lists Frosted Flakes as gluten-free.
- The Celiac Support Association (CSA) includes Frosted Flakes on its list of approved gluten-free products.
- The Gluten Intolerance Group’s (GIG) product listing tool rates Frosted Flakes as “Gluten-Free” – its safest rating.
So all key celiac organizations accept Frosted Flakes as a gluten-free option.
Individual Tolerances Vary
While Frosted Flakes contains very low levels of gluten, trace amounts may still be present occasionally. The amount typically will be under 20 ppm and not an issue for most gluten-sensitive individuals. However, a small percentage of people are highly sensitive:
- People with celiac disease – About 5-10% may react to traces under 20 ppm.
- People with non-celiac gluten sensitivity – Up to 50% may react to very low gluten levels.
So in these cases, even traces of gluten could trigger symptoms or issues. Anyone who believes they may be highly sensitive should use their own judgment on whether to eat Frosted Flakes.
Serving & Preparation Recommendations
Here are tips for safely enjoying Frosted Flakes if you’re gluten-free:
- Carefully read the ingredient list to ensure no sources of gluten have been added, which should only be the case with plain Frosted Flakes.
- Check that your package is labeled “gluten-free” to verify it’s an approved product.
- Thoroughly clean surfaces, dishes, and utensils before preparing to avoid cross-contact.
- Use fresh milk or other gluten-free toppings to avoid contamination.
- Check that your hands are clean and avoid reaching into the cereal bag to lower the chance of introducing gluten.
Considering all the evidence, Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes can be considered gluten-free and safe for the majority of those with gluten restrictions. The levels of gluten should fall reliably below 20 ppm, the threshold for gluten-free labeling.
However, a small number of highly sensitive individuals may still react. So the best option is for each person to evaluate their own tolerance levels and decide if Frosted Flakes works for their individual case.
The Takeaway on Frosted Flakes and Gluten
- Kellogg’s states that all Frosted Flakes contain less than 20 ppm of gluten.
- The cereal is certified gluten-free by reputable third-party organizations.
- Leading celiac and gluten intolerance groups recognize it as gluten-free.
- The chance of cross-contamination exists but is low.
- Most people with gluten restrictions should be able to safely eat Frosted Flakes.
- A small number of highly sensitive individuals may still react.
So in general, Frosted Flakes can be considered a gluten-free-friendly cereal option. But anyone with doubts or severe gluten issues should use judgment to decide if it works for them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is plain Frosted Flakes gluten-free?
Yes, plain Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes without any added ingredients is certified gluten-free to contain under 20 ppm of gluten.
Are Frosted Flakes safe for celiacs?
Most people with celiac disease should be able to safely consume plain Frosted Flakes. But celiacs who are highly sensitive to traces of gluten may want to exercise caution.
Can gluten sensitivity or intolerance eat Frosted Flakes?
Individuals with non-celiac gluten sensitivity can often tolerate Frosted Flakes, but they should evaluate their own tolerance levels. Those highly reactive to small amounts of gluten may need to avoid it.
Does Frosted Flakes contain wheat?
No, the key ingredients in Frosted Flakes are corn, sugar, and malt flavoring. It does not contain any wheat or wheat-derived ingredients.
What about other Frosted Flakes flavors?
Other flavors like Frosted Flakes Chocolate and Frosted Flakes with Marshmallows also meet the requirements to be labeled gluten-free. But always check the labels to ensure no gluten sources have been added.
Can kids with celiac disease eat Frosted Flakes?
Frosted Flakes is generally safe for kids with celiac disease. But parents may want to exercise extra caution if their child is especially sensitive to traces of gluten.
Is Frosted Mini Wheats gluten-free?
No, Frosted Mini Wheats contains wheat and barley and is not gluten-free. Only the original Frosted Flakes and its flavors are certified gluten-free.
What about cross-contamination risks?
There is a small chance of cross-contamination from shared equipment, but Frosted Flakes is tested to ensure any gluten would be minimal. Most people with celiac disease or gluten issues can safely eat Frosted Flakes.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, Frosted Flakes can be considered gluten-free and a safe cereal choice for individuals avoiding gluten. Kellogg’s states it contains less than 20 ppm of gluten. Plus it carries certifications from trusted gluten-free organizations.
A very small number of highly sensitive people may still react to trace gluten. But Frosted Flakes should be tolerable for the majority of people on gluten-free diets. As with any food, individuals should evaluate their own tolerance levels and needs to decide if Frosted Flakes works for them.