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Letter from Trevor Pizzey, Vice President of Operations for Can-Oat Milling (October 30, 1998)

I was reading with interest the postings on your board with respect to the above study and the follow-up and comments. One item that seemed to remain uncertain was the contamination potential of oat products with other cereal grains, in particular wheat, barley, and rye. If we can be of any assistance in providing information to answer this question, we would be glad to offer our data.

My name is Trevor Pizzey, and I am currently the Executive Vice President - Operations for Can-Oat Milling, the largest industrial supplier of oat ingredients in North America. Part of the quality control that is incorporated in our operation is a monitoring of the foreign grain admixture of both our raw material and finished goods. Steve Martins comments that cross contamination of grains in North America is almost a given is indeed accurate. There are a number of points of contamination during the production and manufacturing processes. The first point of contamination is usually in the field. Crop rotation in the US and Canada means that oats are often grown on fields that have previously produced wheat, barley or rye. Volunteer grain is the term used to refer to these grains growing the following year from seed that missed being harvested the previous year. A secondary point of contamination is often the grain handling system.

Most grain handling facilities receive, store, and ship multiple grains. Usually the systems are not cleaned out between receipts or shipments, so one residues of one grain are often in equipment when the next batch of grain passes through, resulting in contamination. This contaminated grain then moves to a processor for manufacturing into a food product. If you are interested in some data related to wheat and barley (we dont see much rye and as a result have no data) content in both our raw material and finished products, please contact me at any time, and we can put together a package for you. My phone number is (204) 857-9700, and fax number is (204) 857-9500. I would suggest that oat flour is more likely to be contaminated with wheat and barley than are oat flakes, although most oat flakes do have a trace of wheat and barley present in them as well. The reasons for the difference are related to mill flows and maximizing efficiencies, but Im sure are not of much interest to celiacs other than knowing what does and does not contain the offending proteins. Im glad to see that in general terms oats are an acceptable grain based nutrition source for celiacs. I realize that we as processors need to make further progress to be able to provide the assurance necessary for celiacs that oat products are not contaminated with other grains. We would like to be able to reach the point that celiacs could rely on oat products in their diet.

Regards,
Trevor Pizzey

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November 2, 1998 Response by Mr. Pizzey to my Request for More Information:

I have reviewed our QA data, and based on the analysis of approximately 50,000 tons of groat production (Note: Groats are the oats with the hull removed, and this production is the primary stage of processing prior to grinding into flour or rolling into flakes. It is at the groat stage that we can most easily detect and monitor wheat and barley admixture.) from our two facilities during the last 6 months. Average wheat and barley contents have been 2.1 and 4.1 kernels per 100 g respectively. It takes approximately 40 kernels to equal 1 gram, so this admixture level equates to 0.0525% and 0.1025% respectively. This level can be expected to fluctuate with crop year and raw material sourcing region.

Our specifications for finished food products are a maximum of 10 kernels per 100 g, or 0.25% each of wheat and barley. As you can see, average production levels are significantly below our maximum specification, but celiacs would need to be concerned about the maximum specification level, as this concentration is on occasion present in oat products we manufacture. Most of our competitors do not carry wheat and barley as specification items, so I can not comment on the industry average or maximum concentration.

With respect to your question about the ability of smaller organic producers and processors to guarantee admix free oat products, I would have to say that they are unlikely to be any better than the larger, more conventional operations. In fact, organic producers have somewhat more limited means of controlling volunteer cereals, so admixture levels can be even more elevated than in conventional production. We have previously been a certified organic oat processing facility, and have dealt with significant volumes of organic oats. In general terms, we saw both wheat and barley levels to be higher in organic oats than in conventional products. As with the conventional producers, there is a range of quality that can be expected from organic growers, and some take more care in crop rotations to ensure low cereal admix than others.

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3 Responses:

 
Victoria
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said this on
24 Nov 2007 1:49:50 PM PDT
So, has anyone eaten oats? Regular, not milled separately oats? Do they cause a reaction. I'm thinking it might be ok to eat oats occasionally if oat flakes contain only trace amounts, however, no one wants to be the guniea pig on a theory. Still, if someone already knows, it would be great.

 
Majetta
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said this on
05 Dec 2007 3:12:51 PM PDT
I have tried oats, and as a fast reactive celiac, most of the time, I have no reaction. There are other times, however that I have. I really think it's not the oat grain itself, just contamination. But then, everyone is very different in their reactions. I also do dairy and corn while others can't!

 
Bridget
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said this on
05 May 2013 11:27:55 AM PDT
Thanks so much for having this information available to us on the Internet! You've helped me since day 1 of my diagnosis in October 2008. I can't ever express my gratitude for your web site!




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Sorry for the very late reply and thanks for the replies, I didn't get a notification of any. In case anyone else comes across this and has been wondering the same as I was, I did try a vegetable broth and I did react to it in the same way as if I'd eaten the vegetables. As for the candida, I've been using coconut oil and am seeing a medical herbalist for this and leaky gut. It's only been a few weeks but I've noticed an improvement all round.

What did you drink and where did you drink it? NOTE if you drink something at a bar using their glasses your asking for trouble BEER IS EVERYWHERE in most bars and a CC hell. If it was at home and a non grain based liqour then I would be really concerned that it might just be alcohol. I personally can not really drink much of anything any more. I love rum, and I cook with it sometimes in sautes. I also have rum extract/butter rum extract/and rum emulsion I use in shakes, homemade keto pudding/ mixed into dishes. and even add some to drink to give it a rum flavor lol.

I can only think of two things, 1 something you put on your potato was contaminated like the butter container could have crumbs in it or something like that as mentioned before, and you could be having a reaction to dairy or what ever was put in it.......IF it was just plain potato and you reacted with bloating and cramping you might have a carb issues, tad rare and most associated with additional auto immune diseases but could be in which case a diet of fats and protein would be your answer much like it is for me now days. What all have you eaten in the privous 8 hours including beverages, condiments, spices and foods?

They are gluten-free. Did you use butter that might have gluten crumbs on it? For me , it takes more than 2 hours to feel the effect of gluten- maybe something you ate before? Maybe stomach virus?

Has anyone had an reaction to potatoes? Just made couple bake potatoes 2hrs ago and now I feel awful...just wondering thought potatoes were gluten free?????