One reader’s question: Why does Canada not consider oats a problem? Is it because of different growing/storage practices?
Paul’s comment: Oats are definitely a problem, but the official Canadian definition of gluten free specifies that it is a problem with a solution. Most exports agree that the problem is not the gluten in oats but that the fact that they are usually grown, harvested, and processed in close proximity to wheat, barley, or rye. Oats are considered “certified” if they have been grown and processed in such a way that adding them product does not cause the product to have more than the prescribed number of parts-per-million of gluten.
The United States does not, as yet, have an official definition of “gluten” but our Food and Drug Administration seems to be going in that direction.
This is the first in a series of articles that I am calling “Questions and Comments”. I am using the word ‘comment’ rather than ‘answer’ because these articles will bring up question where there is not total agreement as to a single correct answer. I welcome your comment on my comment or about the place of oats in the gluten free diet. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will publish “Questions and Comments” every Friday.