Oats can now make gluten-free claim in Canada

By Sue Newell, CCA

Oat flakes on white background

Health Canada announced regulatory changes that will allow a gluten-free claim for specially produced or processed oats that are free from wheat, rye, barley, or their hybridized strains, and for foods containing these oats. Details about these changes, an updated position paper and other important information can be found on Health Canada’s Website.

The Canadian Celiac Association supports this decision to allow gluten-free claims for specially produced gluten-free oats and products containing such oats. The Canadian Celiac Association Professional Advisory Council Position Statement on Consumption of Oats by Individuals with Celiac Disease is available on www.celiac.ca.

Health Canada’s Marketing Authorization permits the gluten-free claim for oats if they meet the following criteria:

  1. The food contains no oats other than specially produced “gluten-free oats”;
  2. The finished product does not contain greater than 20 ppm of gluten from wheat, rye, barley or their hybridized strains;
  3. The food contains no intentionally added gluten from wheat, rye, barley, or their hybridized strains; and
  4. The “gluten-free oats” are clearly identified as such in all cases where ‘oats’ are referenced, including in the list of ingredients.

Manufacturers who want to make a gluten-free claim on pure oats or products made with pure oats are responsible for ensuring those oats meet the criteria outlined in the Marketing Authorization. If a product is marketed as gluten-free and contains oats that do not meet the criteria, it will be subject to enforcement actions by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

About David E. Fowler

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