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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Cheerios Are Finally Going Gluten-Free

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Caption: Photo: Mike Mozart

    Celiac.com 02/25/2015 - General Mills has announced that original Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios and three other Cheerios varieties will undergo formula changes, including a switch to gluten-free oats, and will be released as a gluten-free cereal.

    Photo: Mike MozartThe move by the food and cereal giant mirrors a similar recipe change that successfully boosted sales for its Chex brand, which has been gluten-free since 2010.

    The company will likely begin selling gluten-free versions in July, says Jim Murphy, president of Big G Cereals, General Mills' ready-to-eat cereal division.

    Apparently, General Mills felt that that could no longer ignore the skyrocketing sales of gluten-free foods, and the slow decline of foods that contain gluten, including breakfast cereals.

    "People are actually walking away from cereal because they are avoiding gluten," says Murphy, a development that, at a time when cereal sales, including Cheerios, are already weak, the company can ill afford.

    Meanwhile, unit sales growth of food with a gluten-free claim on its packaging grew 10.6% in 2014 compared to the previous year, and gluten-free sales, especially among breakfast cereals are expected to continue double-digit growth through at least 2018.


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    For people who have celiac disease we are only allowed 20 ppm for the whole day, so if I eat Cheerios than I would have to be careful for the rest of the day and not get gluteninated.

    This is a misunderstanding of definition of gluten-free on packaging. Cheerios don't automatically contain 20 ppm...the law says that they cannot contain over that amount--there is a difference.

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    I was heart broken when I was told that I had celiac disease. That meant I had to give up my favorite cereal--Cheerios. I am so happy to hear that I will be able to eat them again. That means that they will be malt free.

    Malt can be made from multiple grains including rice and oats.

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    The company has spent the past 3 years developing a mechanical filter to take out the gluten grains at their facilities. After rigorous testing, they have perfected the filtering process, ensuring that the oats used for Cheerios meet FDA's strict gluten-free guidelines.

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    YAY! This is great news for cereal lovers. Wishing that more brands will get with the program too. Now if I could find a good soft bread, that would be even better news.

    Try Glutino White Sandwich Bread. It's soft, like Wonder Bread.

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    Watchdog reported that Cheerios is NOT using certified gluten free oats and is in fact using a machine that removes the visible wheat and other grains from the bulk oats. Didn't sound safe for celiacs to me.

    If the product is labeled "gluten-free," then it must meet FDA labeling standards, and contain under 20ppm gluten. That standard is the same regardless of the type of oats they use.

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    I spoke with the makers recently and they said that the Gluten free Cheerios recently on the market at the same price as regular was a test market. Then they said that the would be re-released in May as Gluten free and at an price more than regular.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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