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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    General Mills Looks to Patent Gluten-free Oats

    Celiac.com 08/17/2016 - Cereal-maker General Mills is looking to patent method and system for manufacturing gluten-free oats.

    The application for patent protection covers numerous mechanical separation processes on a variety of grains, including oat grains and gluten-containing grains, using, among other things, width grading steps, multiple length grading steps, aspirating steps and a potential de-bearding step.

    Federal labeling regulations require products labeled 'gluten-free' to have gluten levels below 20 ppm. The process allow the production of oat grains with gluten levels below 20 parts per million, and optimally at 10 ppm.

    The resulting oats are gluten-free oats and suitable for use in a variety of gluten-free oat food products, including cereal and granola products, according to the patent US 2016/0207048 A1, filed on July 21st 2016.

    Mechanical separation techniques, such as these covered by the patent application, have the potential to be highly efficient and economical. The patent does not mention more expensive optical systems.

    Oats are naturally gluten-free, but, according to the patent, "oats cultivated in North America, Europe and other parts of the world commonly are contaminated by gluten-containing grains such as wheat, barley, rye and triticale."

    Contamination can result from rotating grains on the same crop land, and from harvesting, transporting, storing and merchandising.

    General Mills experienced problems with wheat contamination of gluten-free products last year, when they were forced to recall an estimated 1.8 million boxes of gluten-free Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios at its Lodi, Calif., plant. The product was contaminated with gluten. However, the company has maintained that the gluten contamination was due to an employee processing error, not any defect in their grain sorting equipment covered under the patent protection.

    Stay tuned to find out if General Mills receives their patent, and if their process has a significant impact on the quality, availability and cost of gluten-free oats.



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    Just because your label says "Simply Gluten free" does not mean that your cereal IS "GLUTEN FREE" ! IT IS NOT GLUTEN FREE!!!!

    I have called General Mills and had long discussion about this issue. It has to say "CERTIFIED GLUTEN FREE" !

     

    This whole fiasco is creating problems for everyone who is gluten-free. I would advise to taken it off shelves in supermarkets and other stores. And it should not be on the market, period! If they cannot find reliable, efficient and effective methods to produce this cereal as Gluten free, then TAKE IT OFF THE MARKET. Let the manufacturers who produce gluten free foods, then we would not have contamination, thus, susceptibility leading to death! General Mills should really think about what they are doing! Then do not produce Cheerios "gluten-free!" Let the gluten free manufacturers make gluten free foods; they know what they are doing!!

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    They should not be able to patent something like this. It would give them the power to prevent smaller companies with potentially better products from selling them. If they ended up with a monopoly, then consumers would have very limited choices among products and be at the mercy of whatever excuse they came up with for each incidence of contamination.

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    Just because your label says "Simply Gluten free" does not mean that your cereal IS "GLUTEN FREE" ! IT IS NOT GLUTEN FREE!!!!

    I have called General Mills and had long discussion about this issue. It has to say "CERTIFIED GLUTEN FREE" !

     

    This whole fiasco is creating problems for everyone who is gluten-free. I would advise to taken it off shelves in supermarkets and other stores. And it should not be on the market, period! If they cannot find reliable, efficient and effective methods to produce this cereal as Gluten free, then TAKE IT OFF THE MARKET. Let the manufacturers who produce gluten free foods, then we would not have contamination, thus, susceptibility leading to death! General Mills should really think about what they are doing! Then do not produce Cheerios "gluten-free!" Let the gluten free manufacturers make gluten free foods; they know what they are doing!!

    Actually there have been instances of products that are "certified gluten-free" but have tested positive for gluten, so even certification is NOT a guarantee.

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    I don´t think they should even consider patenting anything until they are really at a point where no celiac sufferers can react to their product. I find it disheartening that after so many reacted to their supposed gluten free products, they were allowed to keep them on the market, and seem not to have changed how they process the items to become gluten free. Perhaps they should have a designation that excludes actual celiac sufferers, such as "designed for gluten free diets, not gluten free allergies" or something like that. Something that lets those who choose a gluten-free diet buy it, but helps those who do NOT choose a gluten free lifestyle avoid it.

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    I´ve just about had it with mass production of food. I occasionally eat out and only order gluten free menu items (i´m gluten sensitive, not celiac) but I always feel much better when making my own food at home. Don´t ever expect a massive corporation to be concerned for your health, ever.

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    We tried one box, one mouthful before my daughter yelled, "don´t eat that!" to her sister. Anything that says processed in a plant...is off limits for my daughter, a lesson we learned the hard way. When will the industry get that this is life and death for many people?

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    Fact of the matter is they touched, they are likely contaminated. For those of us hyper sensitive to gluten their method is complete and utter joke. I have only every trusted one company with oats and will still only trust them. I think letting them get away with patenting this new method will only open the doors for other companies to use cheaper so called "Accepted" methods for getting something labeled gluten-free when it is not truly gluten-free. We need stricter standards for gluten labeling and certifications on being called gluten-free.

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    You can´t trust them or any company that part of the Dark Act, they pay Billions of dollars to not have to label their product ingredients, thanks to Obama!! Only buy certified Organic, Non GMO. Cheerios is Cancer in a box!

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    Stick with certified and companies that specialize in organic gluten-free. Cheerios is still using awful chemicals in their formulas - so bad for our kids.

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    GM has been in the forefront of giving buyers gluten free cereal that tastes good. They have invested where other BIG cereal companies have not. I applaud them and hope they keep up the good work. I eat various Cheerios products all the time now. They are delicious and they cause no celiac effects. Thanks, General Mills!!

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams 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 biology, anatomy, medicine, science, and advanced research, and scientific methods. He previously served as 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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