Gluten Free Watchdogs Updated Position Statement On Cheerios
This position statement may not be reposted without the express written permission of Gluten Free Watchdog, LLC.
***Note: What follows is the opinion of Gluten Free Watchdog. Whether or not you choose to eat Cheerios is your personal decision and you do not owe anyone an explanation. Please make decisions based on the totality of information available to you, including the position of Gluten Free Watchdog, the statement at the end of this post from General Mills, and Gluten Free Watchdogs updated position statement on oats.***
General Mills has always been transparent with Gluten Free Watchdog about the protocols used for gluten-free Cheerios. And for this, we are truly appreciative. However, Gluten Free Watchdog cannot in good conscience recommend gluten-free Cheerios. This is due largely to the testing protocol followed by General Mills versus our recent test results. Because General Mills uses sorted oats*, testing protocols take on added importance as a benchmark of oat safety. We truly wish General Mills would adopt a testing protocol similar to the one followed by Quaker Oats, another manufacturer also using sorted oats in labeled gluten-free foods.
*Sorted oats are traditionally grown oats that undergo a mechanical and or optical screening at the mill to remove gluten-containing grain based on a variety of grain properties .
Yellow box/Original Cheerios
Barbaras Honey Rice Puffins
Barbaras Honey Rice Puffins cereal is a treat for kids and adults alike.
The base of this cereal is made from whole grain brown rice, and its lightly sweetened with a combination of cane sugar, molasses, and honey.
Each 1/2-cup of cereal provides 1.5 grams of fiber, 1.5 grams of protein, and 3 grams of added sugar. Its also fortified with calcium to support the growth and development of your kids bones.
Note the manufacturer recommends a serving size of 1 cup .
This product is not certified gluten-free by a third-party organization, but Barbaras independently tests all individual ingredients, as well as each product batch to ensure gluten levels do not exceed 20 parts per million .
Is Crispix Gluten Free
Crispix cereal is made of crunchy corn on one side and crispy rice on the other. Its not labeled gluten free.
Crispix ingredients include rice, milled corn, sugar, salt, molasses, brown rice syrup, baking soda, and turmeric extract. None of the ingredients noted seem to contain gluten, however, brown rice syrup may contain gluten despite its innocuous name.
Learn more about why brown rice syrup may contain gluten in my article, Is Yeast Extract Gluten Free and 20+ Other Confusing Ingredients.
Sure enough, Crispix tested positive for gluten when put to the Nima Sensor test. See that wheat symbol and Gluten Found message? That means Nima found gluten.
Heres an upclose picture of the Nima Sensors Gluten Found message.
Read Also: Are Dove Ice Cream Bars Gluten Free
Why Is The Cca Concerned
Oats are a naturally gluten-free grain however, it has been documented that oats are frequently cross contaminated with gluten-containing grains, especially barley and wheat. Health Canada scientists have tested commercial oat samples and found high levels of gluten contamination . Cross contamination can occur because oats often are grown in rotation with other crops, harvested and transported with equipment that is also used for gluten-containing grains.
We know the following:
1. Oats are an extremely high risk grain and even gluten-free oats are at high risk for gluten contamination.
2. It is very difficult to remove gluten-containing grains from oats using optical and mechanical technology alone because barley and wheat are similar in size, shape and color as oats. Broken kernels present in the grain also add to the sorting challenge.
3. General Mills is using a cleaning system that they developed based on mechanical sorting to remove barley and wheat from regular commercial oats.
It All Starts With Oats
Cheerios have always been made of oats, which are naturally gluten free. However, conventional farming practices as well as common grain handling procedures allow chances for gluten containing grains to co-mingle with our gluten free oats. To make Cheerios gluten-free, we have to separate the oats from grains that contain gluten, which are different sizes and shapes. Our cleaning house can sort 3.5 million pounds of oats every day.
Also Check: Panko Gluten Free Substitute
What Should You Do
The thing about Cheerios is they could make you sick
Do you want to risk that? Honestly, getting glutened is not life threatening like many allergies! Thankful!
So it is really up to youbut if your keeping your kid gf to help them feel better, then best to avoid risking Cheerios for now. There are plenty of other cereals out there as listed in our gluten free foods list!
And keep an eye on this subject
Because General Mills is working on itand they have the best intentions!
It may not be perfect for you or mebut hey, they invest a lot in it risking losing money, reputation, etc. and its worth acknowledging the effort and supporting the journey!
At least that is our opinion
Are Fruity Pebbles Gluten Free
Yes, Fruity Pebbles are gluten free and labeled as such too. The Gluten Free label is seen on the side panel of the cereal box and under the ingredient list.
Fruity Pebbles are made from rice, sugar, oil and a whole bunch of food dye. No gluten in sight, and Nima is all smiles, assuring me that its gluten free.
Please note that Cocoa Pebbles are also labeled gluten free and safe to consume on a gluten-free diet.
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Are Reeses Puffs Gluten Free
Reeses Puffs cereal is made of sweet and crunchy corn puffs coated with peanut butter. Obviously if you have a peanut allergy, you should avoid this cereal.
The cereal box isnt marked gluten free, however, the ingredient list, which includes whole grain corn, sugar, Reeses peanut butter, dextrose, corn meal, corn syrup, oil and artificial flavors, does not include any gluten-y ingredients.
I tested Reeses Puffs for hidden gluten with my Nima Sensor, and Nima came back with a smile .
Whats The Debate About
The debate has to do with the testing, and Tricia Thompson of Gluten-Free Watchdog is our advocate in this. According to Tricia, who traveled to General Mills, GM is reporting a lot mean by combining 12 to 18 boxes of cereal, grinding them together and testing the results.
And when they shared extraction values with Tricia, it revealed that while most extractions were under 20 ppm, some were above 20 ppm.
Gluten Dude also visited General Mills and they sent him an email in response to the concerns expressed by Tricia. While they cited numbers well below 20 ppm, they were again citing mean results.
The problem with mean values is that any samples that are over 20 ppm are getting diluted by the lower value samples. That works for some things, but not for people who need to avoid gluten 100% of the time.
Tricia Thompson says,
Based on extraction values shared with me I am not fully confident that every box of Yellow Box Cheerios from the 88 lots produced at the time of my visit to General Mills contains a level of gluten less than 20 parts per million.
And that is where the debate is centered. Some believe that every box should test to less than 20 ppm gluten. Not an average.
How Do I Help Get The Message Out That Gluten Free Must Mean Safe For Celiac Disease
This is an issue of significant concern to the Canadian Celiac Association.
1. Contact General Mills Canada Customer service and tell them that you would like to eat Cheerios, but not until you are sure the product is safe for people with celiac disease. http://consumercontacts.generalmills.com/ConsolidatedContact.aspx?page=http://www.lifemadedelicious.ca& js=True& language=en
2. Contact Health Canada and tell them that you want gluten free to mean safe for people with celiac disease so that you do not have figure out if the test protocols used by a particular manufacturer are adequate to detect gluten contamination. Please copy the CCA on your messages to Health Canada. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/contact/fnan/hpfb-dgpsa/bcs-bipc-eng.php
1. Health Canada study of oat levels in commercial oats available in Canada. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3118497/
2. Canadian Celiac Association Professional Advisory Council position statement on consumption of oats by individuals with celiac disease. https://www.celiac.ca/?page_id=2831
Cca Statement On Gluten
General Mills Canada announced that five Cheerios flavours sold in Canada will carry a gluten-free claim. Original Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Multi-Grain Cheerios, Apple Cinnamon Cheerios and Chocolate Cheerios rolled out across the country in August. The Canadian Celiac Association held a conference call with representatives of General Mills Canada and General Mills US on August 2nd 2016 to discuss our concerns with the gluten-free label on these products.
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Gluten Free Cheerios Bars
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Gluten-Free Cheerios.
Did you know that five flavors of Cheerios are now gluten free? You can learn all about how they make sure their oats are gluten free HERE. Its really fascinating! Cheerios sent me boxes of their gluten free cereals to try, so you know what I had to do? Make something yummy with them!
I whipped up some Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cup Cheerios Bars. They are perfect for the peanut butter cup lover, AND they are totally gluten free!
While my husband doesnt have a positive gluten allergy, he is very sensitive to it, so I try to limit gluten in the things I make. I was thrilled when I found out Cheerios had five of their flavors completely gluten free. Yellow Box Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, MultiGrain Cheerios, Apple Cinnamon Cheerios and Frosted Cheerios are now all Gluten Free. You can find the label right on the box!
I love Cheerios. Its one of my favorite cereals for breakfast. I try to stick with oats for breakfast cereal because it is much more filling and full of protein to get you through the day. Cheerios is not just great for breakfast, but its perfect for after school snacks or late night snacks, too.
These treats have full size peanut butter cups hidden right in the middle. The heat from the melted marshmallows melts the peanut butter cups into chocolate peanut buttery goodness!
What If I Eat Cheerios And Have A Problem
We realize that some people with celiac disease will decide to eat Cheerios. The CCA recommends that if you experience a reaction to the cereal, you should notify the Canadian Food Inspection Agency , General Mills Canada, the store that sold you the package and the CCA.
Canadian Food Inspection Agency http://www.inspection.gc.ca/food/information-for-consumers/report-a-concern/contactus/eng/1390269985112/1390346078752
General Mills Customer Service http://consumercontacts.generalmills.com/ConsolidatedContact.aspx?page=http://www.lifemadedelicious.ca& js=True& language=en
Canadian Celiac Association: Email or Facebook
Please keep the remainder of the cereal package and any unopened boxes purchased at the same time until it is clear whether CFIA is interested in testing the package for gluten.
Read Also: Substitute For Gluten Free Bread Crumbs
Ancient Harvest Quinoa Flakes
Although usually served as a lunch or dinner item, quinoa can also be used to make a comforting, nutritious, and hearty hot breakfast cereal.
Much like oatmeal, Ancient Harvests quinoa flakes are shelf stable and cook quickly, but theyre made exclusively from organic white quinoa.
A 1/2-cup serving provides approximately 5 grams of fiber, 9 grams of protein, and 0 grams of added sugar.
Note the manufacturer recommends a serving size of 1/3 cup . Ancient Harvests quinoa flakes are labeled gluten-free but not certified gluten-free by a third-party organization.
One major drawback of most breakfast cereals is their relatively low protein content.
If youre looking for a convenient cereal that contains higher than average amounts of protein, Erin Bakers Ultra Protein Granola is worth a try.
It packs 10 grams of plant-based protein in each 1/2-cup serving, alongside 4 grams of fiber and just 7 grams of sugar.
Made from a combination of oats, peanut butter, and pea protein, its sweetened with brown rice syrup and molasses.
This product is not certified gluten-free by a third-party organization, but Erin Bakers independently tests its products to ensure compliance with the FDAs gluten-free labeling requirements.
Which Of These Popular Cereals Are Gluten
Gluten Free Frosted Flakes: Frosted Flakes are wheat-free and this is why people assume they are gluten-free but the truth is that they contain malt which is a by-product of barley. Hence, they are not gluten-free but, frosted flakes are vegan. Kelloggs Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, Cocoa Krispies, Crispix, and Frosted Flakes are all wheat-free but are not suitable to those who cant tolerate gluten.
Kelloggs Cereals: Kelloggs has a huge variety of cereals that are wheat-free but only a few Kelloggs gluten-free cereals are available in the market. These are: Special KGluten-Free Cereal Touch of Brown Sugar, Kashi Simply Maize Cereal, Kashi Indigo Morning Cereal, Kashi Clusters, Vanilla Pepita, Bear Naked Cinnamon and Sunflower Butter Soft Baked Granola. The list also includes Bear Naked Cinnamon and Sunflower Butter Soft Baked Granola, Bear Naked Cacao, and Cashew Butter Soft Baked Granola and Bear Naked Pepita, Hemp, and Sunflower Butter Granola.
Raisin Bran: Raisin bran is not gluten-free as it is made up of wheat. It is also very high in sugar and carbohydrates. You might have a hard time in finding gluten-free raisin bran in the market because it is not very popular and in demand.
Shredded Wheat Cereal: No, this is complete wheat made product like the Wheat Thins. You can look for its alternatives like rice puff cereals and they are filling plus have a good taste.
Recommended Reading: Are Dove Ice Cream Bars Gluten Free
Gluten In Cheerios More On Gluten Free Oats
Is There Gluten In Cheerios?!
You may have heard about the infamous General Mills Cheerios recall of some lots of Yellow Box and Honey Nut Cheerios labeled as GLUTEN FREE due to gluten contamination, after reports of consumer illness.
For details on the recall itself, what caused it and which boxes were affected, read Cheerios Recall Facts below. For 2017 updates on this continuing controversy, scroll below the recall information.
CHEERIOS RECALL FACTS:
Due to reports of consumer illness, the FDA has now tested 36 samples of Cheerios products labeled gluten free for gluten contamination as well, finding one Honey Nut Cheerios sample that contained more than twice what is allowed under FDA gluten-free labeling rules.
The sample testing at 43ppm was from one of the recalled lots. Please check the use by dates on any boxes you may have.
If you have been made sick by Cheerios boxes labeled Gluten Free, please contact the FDA MEDWATCH Adverse Event Reporting System 332-1088 or online.
If youd like to report your experience to General Mills and/or want a refund, call 800-775-8370.
Gluten in Cheerios UPDATE: AUGUST 2016:
We know the following:
We can only hope that the FDA follows suit so that Cheerios sold in the U.S. will no longer be labeled gluten-free, but it will only happen if they hear from enough consumers to merit the change.