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Gluten Free


There are two main European Regulations that are relevant to this question.

For many years European Regulations have been in place that define the food allergens that must be declared on packaging. The Food Information to Consumers Regulations (which came into effect on 13th December 2014) changed the way that these allergens have to be identified on pack requiring that they have to be highlighted within the ingredients of any product. In all of this legislation oats (along with other cereals such as wheat, barley and rye etc) are defined as allergens under the heading “cereals containing gluten”.

Oats are included in the legislation along with the other cereals that do contain gluten due to the fact that they are frequently contaminated with these other cereals. Oats, however, do not contain gluten! Oats do contain a protein (called avenin) that is similar to gluten – most coeliacs however can safely eat uncontaminated oats. Despite this – oats in law are still defined as “a cereal containing gluten” and therefore have to be highlighted as an allergen. So – all oats – including gluten free oats – are deemed to contain gluten. This requirement which comes out of allergen labelling regulations is irrespective of the amount of gluten (from cross contamination) that may be present in the actual product.


The Codex and European standard now have two categories:

1. Foods containing less that 20ppm gluten:
Only foods that contain less than 20ppm can be labelled as ‘gluten-free’. This will apply to specialist substitute gluten-free products such as breads containing Codex wheat starch with less than 20ppm. It will also include naturally gluten-free mainstream products like soups, baked beans and crisps. Pure, uncontaminated oat products with a gluten level of less than 20 ppm may also be labelled as gluten-free.

2. Foods containing between 20 and 100ppm gluten:
Products containing gluten above 20 and up to 100ppm will be labelled as ‘very low gluten’. This will be relevant to specialist substitute gluten-free products (such as breads and flour mixes) – oats are however not allowed to be labelled as “Very Low Gluten”, even if the gluten levels are between 20 and 100ppm!

This change in the rules means that many products that historically used to be allowed to be labelled as Gluten Free will no longer be allowed to be, despite the fact that the gluten levels in the product have not changed.


There are two main European Regulations that are relevant to this question.

The oats in our dedicated Gluten Free Range are harvested from a dedicated wheat free growing areas. They are stored and milled in a completely wheat free mill and each batch is tested by us and an independent lab to ensure they are absolutely gluten free. To see our range, visit this page.

Our other Mornflake oat products are grown across the United Kingdom. These oats are normally grown as a “crop rotation” crop, often in rotation with wheat. This means that all oats are potentially contaminated with wheat (and to an extent barley) in the field. At Mornflake we have the best equipment in the industry for removing non-oat seeds (these include wheat, barley and other weed seeds).

Despite all of our precautions however some traces of wheat may remain in these oats. We regularly test the levels of wheat gluten in our oats, and the levels are often less than 20ppm gluten (and hence would be okay to be labelled as “Gluten Free” – although see below about testing). On occasions however the rolled oats may contain levels of gluten above 20ppm – these may occasionally be as high as 80ppm – in these circumstances we would not be allowed to label as “Gluten Free”. Unfortunately, because of the way the European Legislation is worded, these oats are not eligible to be labelled as “Very Low Gluten”.

One interesting point to note (because of the rather strange way the legislation is written) is that if we were to sell our oats made up into porridge using the instructions on the packets then the product would be allowed to be sold as “Gluten Free”.

We speak to many individuals with coeliac disease every week, and the vast majority consume our normal oats without any issues at all. Coeliac disease is however a “spectrum” disease, and individuals may react at different levels so we cannot advise individuals on the suitability of our products for people with coeliac disease except for those that are in our Gluten Free range which is licensed by Coeliac UK.