I have gotten A LOT of messages/emails regarding the new Gluten-Free Oreos? I get the excitement, being able to have a taste of your pre-celiac days. I mean…it’s just a cookie…but I do get it.
But are they really celiac safe and do I recommend them? This should be an easy question, but of course when it comes to celiac disease, easy questions are hard to come by. So follow along the bouncing ball and let’s take this a step at a time.
First…a few notes of interest:
- Yes the cookies are “Certified Gluten-Free”. I don’t put too much stock in that label. That is a post for another day.
- Did you know there was a Change.org petition started 7 years ago to get Nabisco to make gluten-free Oreos and it’s gotten over 3,000 signatures? Kind of an odd thing to petition for but hey…who am I to say?
- I’m not really a cookie guy. Even as a kid, when I was a cookie guy, Oreos were not my thing. Fresh Fig Newtons? Bring ’em on. Chips Ahoy with cold milk? Gimme…gimme…gimme. Bugles and Cheese Doodles? I could eat a whole bag.
- Celiac.com wrote an article in November promoting the Oreos, without even confirming if they were safe or not. Man…those guys drive me nuts.
Ok…let’s take a look at the ingredients: Sugar, White Rice Flour, Tapioca Starch, Palm Oil, Canola Oil, Whole Oat Flour, Cornstarch, Cocoa (processed with alkali), Invert Sugar, Soy Lecithin, Baking Soda, Salt, Xanthan Gum, Chocolate, Artificial Flavor
[keep it to yourself Gluten Dude]
What is the one ingredient that jumps out at you? I’ll give you a hint. Think Cheerios. That’s right, the Whole Oat Flour. A quick refresher course on oats: Oats by themselves are gluten-free (though I know some celiacs have a hard time processing them.) But oats are harvested in the same field as wheat and barley…two big celiac no-nos. So cross-contamination is a huge issue. How huge? Here’s a visual for you.
Crazy, right? So if they are that contaminated, how do they make them safe for those with celiac disease? Well…the company has two options:
- They can use oats that are specially made/harvested/stored in fields and facilities with oats only, avoiding all possibilities of CC. These would be “purity protocol oats”.
- They can use oats that are contaminated, but then use “a process” to remove the wheat and the barley.
Naturally, they went with option 2. What process are they using? I have no idea. I have asked them twice on Twitter if they are using the same (sh*tty) sorting process as Cheerios? And while they seem to respond to every tweet that praises the GF cookie, they won’t respond to me. Take that as you wish.
Transparency goes a long way with the celiac community but these big corporations don’t seem to care.
So…to answer your questions:
Are they celiac safe? Maybe. Probably. Possibly. Who knows?!
Do I recommend them? No I don’t. Not until they are transparent about their oats.
In the words of Forest Gump, that’s all I have to say about that.