Learn which ingredients are gluten-free and which are not.
Regular oats on sale in Ireland are contaminated with barley and wheat and should not be consumed.
Gluten free oats are oats that have been specially produced in a way to avoid contamination by wheat, rye, or barley and are now available. Check the Food List for brands. These oats can be labelled as ‘gluten-free’ provided that the gluten content of such oats does not exceed 20mg/kg as defined by the EC ‘gluten-free’ labelling legislation.
The importance of excluding oats from a gluten-free diet has been debated for some years. Now that gluten free oats are available, the majority of coeliacs should be able to use gluten free oats without problems. However, a minority (possibly up to 5%) will react to avenin, a different protein in oats. Some people who are sensitive to oats will get symptoms and realise they’re sensitive to oats, others will not be sensitive enough to get symptoms despite developing antibodies and possibly damaging their gut lining.
Guidelines for oats in Ireland:
- Adults with coeliac disease can eat gluten free oats and foods made with gluten free oats from diagnosis. However, if symptoms continue or blood levels (tTGs) stay high, then your dietitian may recommend that you trail a fully oat-free diet.
- Children with coeliac disease are advised to avoid oats for one year after diagnosis. After one year, if blood levels (tTGs) are normal and the child is feeling well, they can try introducing oats under the supervision of a registered dietitian and their GP. If they feel sick or have symptoms, then they need to cut out oats again. If they feel well and blood levels (tTGs) stay normal, then they can include oats in their diet.
There are whole categories of foods that are naturally gluten-free. If you’re buying something in a packet or tin always read the label to make sure something with gluten hasn’t been added.
- Natural Raw Meat (fresh, smoked, frozen)
- Uncoated or untreated Fish & Shellfish (fresh, smoked, frozen)
- Shellfish (fresh, frozen)
- Fruit (fresh, frozen, tinned in syrup or natural juice)
- Fresh herbs
- Dried beans, peas, lentils, and pulses
- Shelled and unshelled plain uncoated nuts and seeds
- Dairy products including milk, cream, butter, natural yoghurt, natural cheese, crème fraiche
- Pure oils and fats
- Rice (all varieties of natural rice)
- Jam, marmalade, honey, sugar, molasses, plain golden syrup, plain maple syrup
When purchasing naturally gluten-free flours, it is essential to obtain a certificate of gluten analysis stating that the naturally gluten-free flour/grain is in line with the new revised Codex Standard.
To ensure you are buying a brand that is not cross-contaminated, always check the Catering List. There are a number of suppliers of gluten-free flours distributing to locations around Ireland.
Even if an ingredient does not contain any of these items it may still not be gluten-free due to cross-contamination. Always check the Catering List and Reference Sheet.
Codex wheat starch is wheat starch which has been processed to lower the level of gluten. It is used to make special gluten-free products such as bread, cakes, biscuits, etc. Codex wheat starch is not gluten-free unless it is Codex Alimentarius Standard of below 20ppm and is labelled ‘gluten-free. Under EU Legislation Gluten Free is less than 20ppm and considered safe for people with Coeliac Disease.
Coeliac Ireland do not recommend products labelled “very low gluten” and these foods are not included in the Coeliac Food List.
However, Under EU Legislation, foods with levels between 20 and 100ppm are allowed to say “very low gluten” but most people with coeliac disease still react to this. It is extremely rare to see these foods for sale in Ireland or the UK but people may come across them when they are travelling in the EU. We would therefore additionally advise caution when travelling outside Ireland and the UK where these products are available.
Do You Think You Have Coeliac Disease?
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