Gluten-Free Cheerios? NOT Recommended by the CCA

gluten-free cheerios not recommended

Dude Note: If you need to get up to speed on the Gluten-free Cheerios debacle, read this and this.


Canada has made some awesome contributions to the world. It’s given us Superman, John Candy, AM Radio, Gordon Lightfoot, Basketball, Molsen, Michael J. Fox, the Foghorn, iMax, Lacrosse, Seth Rogen, the Wonderbra, Ice Hockey, Modems, Pagers, Jim Carrey, Pamela Anderson, and the Blackberry. I’d say the only black mark Canada has is Justin Bieber. Hey, nobody bats 1,000.

And now Canada has given us something extra special: COMMON SENSE

The Canadian Celiac Association announced yesterday that they “recommend that people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity DO NOT consume the gluten-free labeled Cheerios products at this time because of concerns about the potential levels of gluten in boxes of these cereals.”

Here is their full report.

No BS…just common sense. But the bottom line, as per their report:

“Gluten contamination in oats is not distributed evenly through a batch; therefore, “hot spots” of high contamination can occur. Based on the information provided to date, our scientific advisors are not convinced that the testing procedures described by General Mills are sufficient to detect these contamination “hot spots” in the oats and oat flour or in the boxes of cereal that may contain those contaminated oats. As a result, some boxes of cereal in the market may be safe for people with celiac disease while others contain significant gluten contamination that has not been detected using current testing protocols.”

This is precisely why some celiacs are fine eating the Cheerios and some continue to get sick. Because their testing methods SUCK.

And it’s not just me who feels this way. The Gluten-Free Watchdog and other sensible leaders in our community are also on board with this stance.

Now I want you to compare this to the Celiac Disease Foundation here in the states, who actually has their logo on every box of gluten-free Cheerios. And it got me thinking: Why would the CDF, one of the leaders of our community and who plays a huge role in keeping the community educated and safe, promote gluten-free Cheerios, when they are not proven to be safe??

Well…here is your answer. General Mills and their subsidiaries are the largest sponsor of the CDF, by far. Actually, they are the only 9 companies that attained the highest sponsorship level of the CDF, as per the CDF website.

cdf cheerios

All of those companies above? All owned by General Mills.

But I’m not here to call anybody out. Everyone needs to sleep with their own decisions, including those fellow gluten-free bloggers who continue to promote Cheerios. But I’ve always said I believe every celiac has a responsibility to the community. And if a product is not proven safe, whether you want to eat it yourself or not, you should not be promoting it. Period.

Now stepping off my soapbox…it’s a long way down 😉

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17 thoughts on “Gluten-Free Cheerios? NOT Recommended by the CCA”

  1. Here in Canada I see the CCA’s blue seal of approval logo from their Gluten Free Certification Program on all kinds of products. Naturally one might wonder about the integrity of such a program but this shows the CCA has some standards.

  2. I wonder if the US will follow suit. I loved Cheerios prior to my 1999 Celiac Disease diagnosis, but after following all you’ve shared since GM was first thinking of making them “safe,” have never touched them. I get way too sick and it isn’t worth the risk. I won’t get into whether or not this is a healthy cereal (everybody has to choose what’s right for himself or herself) – but it would be nice if our community didn’t have to worry about whether something labeled as being gluten free is actually gluten free or not. Those words on a product should mean something. Thanks for sharing this and all the tireless advocacy you do on my behalf, I’m incredibly grateful.

  3. When I posted the article about the scopes they use in colonoscopy and endoscopy being difficult to clean, the CDF put my account on warning and probation. I don’t believe anything they say. There is clearly something going on behind the scenes and they have lost the point of protecting consumers.

  4. Strange they sponsor the celiac disease foundation, I don’t go near any of those brands with a ten foot pole. I must also confess, I haven’t spent much time on the CDF website or found it particularly useful, helpful, or informative.

  5. Yeah I’ve seen the ads lately and just shook my head. Money rules everything in corporate America. I scratch your back you scratch mine. They don’t care if they make people sick. I got sick last week I’m guessing from buildup of trace gluten in the probiotic or other supplement I’ve been taking. I’m now taking nothing but my regular multivitamin. If they won’t regulate themselves then no more money from me.

  6. Glad to see some measure of common sense from an agency. The Cheerios testing methods and processing is a travesty. It would be interesting to know what kinds of discussions went on behind the scenes to convince the CCA to come out with that stance, what kinds of arguments were convincing to them, etc.

    I am (sad to say) very doubtful that the US will follow, given all the promotion and financial incentivizing going on of the unsafe food – and the fact that the standards here are so squishy. I don’t trust anything from the US CDF. They have their own interest, and their interest is not protecting *my* interest. I’m the only one who does that. So that’s what I’ll have to do to protect my own health. And that means a constant vigilance and investigation.

    1. GF and more, if you read the CCA’s statement you will see that it was a failure to convince us of the safety of General Mills procedures that lead to our recommendation. It was never an issue of convincing us the Cheerios were unsafe. Given that gluten free oats may well be the highest risk ingredient used in gluten free products, we need to be convinced that they are safe.

      The CCA took the same stance when purity protocol oats were introduced. Prove that the process works before we can recommend them to people with celiac disease (with the caveat that your gut should be healed before you start eating even pure oats). There are benefits to being an organization guided by science.

      Sue Newell, Canadian Celiac Association

      1. GOOD FOR YOU! Sadly, while I love the U.S.A. and being a citizen here, I do have to say that lately it seems that big corporations rule to much. The US FDA regulations are a joke because corporations are self-policing. That single issue convinced me that the 20ppm idea is a danger to my health. But that is just me!
        I think Canada is a beautiful country filled with wonderful people. But I like the warm south.

      2. Thank you Sue! I just read the full statement and appreciate the reasoning behind the CCA’s sensible stance. As you say, we must be convinced with scientific proof that something is affirmatively safe. And that must be kept as a high bar to cross. When in doubt, err on the side of unproven and unsafe. When there might be harm to some populations within the celiac community, err on the side of unsafe.

        I only wish the US agencies could see the value of caution and measured science.

  7. Thank you for this!! I’m recently diagnosed and have been getting informed. It’s a struggle to explain to family and friends why I’m not willing to eat the “gluten free” Cheerios. My husband and I shook our heads at the Celiac Foundation logo…, seriously? Also, this site is amazing! This has been a journey of ups and downs so far. One day feeling good and cheerful, other days having a total emotional breakdown over all the food memories I’ll never experience again. Loving your honesty and sense of humor!

  8. I was told by a reputable celiac group here in the USA that I’m just sensitive to oats then assuring me Cheerios are gluten free. I’ve argued it. I have eaten gluten free oats with no issue in the past. I had my worst celiac flare in months when I tried the GF Cheerios. When gluten free labels mean “up to 10 ppm of gluten” it’s of no value to those of us with celiac disease.

  9. Hi folks,

    I’m in the States and just received my NIMA sensor.. The first thing i did was test my yellow box GF Cheerios and you guessed it…. it failed.. Gluten found. Well that sucks.

    If you haven’t ordered a NIMA sensor, it’s worth it. It’s been great testing somethings I eat regularly and to have confidence that they are indeed GF.


  10. Just ate these with whole milk and am experiencing the hallmark intestinal burning, back pain and leg pain almost immediately. Sigh. I’m still new to all this, but unless it’s certified GF I’ll just have to stay away regardless of “claims”.

  11. This makes me so sad. I was diagnosed with Celiac 4 months ago. And I trusted that Cheerios really were gluten free. Having cut out so much food already, I was glad to have something familiar that was inexpensive. But I hadn’t really felt better having gone gluten free. And then I ran out of Cheerios almost 2 weeks ago and haven’t been to the grocery store yet.
    And my stomach issues cleared up. I would consider it a fluke had I not experienced both intentional gluten consumption and non-intentional cross contamination recently, with isolated stomach issues.
    So yeah, 2017 and they still don’t have their gluten free schtick together.

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I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

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