Is oatmeal gluten-free?
I've got a friend with a gluten allergy. I was under the impression that oatmeal is gluten-free, but I am seeing conflicting information out there. Even if I got a certified gluten-free oatmeal, I still see reports that it will irritate people with gluten allergies. Does anyone have experience with this?
The oats themselves do not have gluten IN them. However, depending on how/where they are grown and/or processed they may have gluten ON them. This is because they are handled similarly to wheat and other grains - both in equipment and facilities.
There are some companies that take care to purchase oats grown far away from wheat fields and processed with dedicated equipment. Still a very slight chance of irritation in those very, very sensitive.
Check with your local Celiac group. About 4 years ago I had heard of one company which was 100% clean, but it was a very hard to find purchase. Unless your friend is super sensitive then Bob's Red Mill is an excellent brand which is readily available.
A good natural foods store will be able to address your concerns and help you find the right product.
Oats don't have gluten but as the other poster mentioned, they can get contaminated in processing. People who are "gluten free" generally eat them but people with celiac usually don't unless they are from the certified free facility. My friend with celiac has no problem with those but the expense makes them a treat.
It really depends on how sensitive the person is...
My best friend has celiac and sticks to steel-cut oats, making sure to carefully check the labels.