The Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO), a program of the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG), has published a study titled “The Use of Visual Examination for Determining the Presence of Gluten-Containing Grains in Gluten Free Oats and Other Grains, Seeds, Beans, Pulses, and Legumes” in a special section of the Journal of AOAC International focusing on food allergens and gluten. The manuscript is intended to provide industry guidance in determining the safety of whole grains, beans, seeds pulses and legumes for the gluten-free market. The article describes a sampling plan for determining the number of gluten-containing grains per kg of whole commodities, and a proposed threshold for meeting the GFCO requirement of 10 ppm or less.
The threshold set by GFCO takes into account the special circumstance of whole grain products, wherein a gluten containing grain in a product like oatmeal will be eaten in one serving, rather than being spread out over the entire product package or lot. The use of visual examination gets around many of the problems encountered with antibody-based testing methods, including sampling limitations and the uneven distribution of gluten in ground flours.
The study goes on to show that two major processors of gluten free oats are able to meet the proposed threshold using their current processing methods, which differ from one another. It should be noted that this study was not designed to compare the performance of the two processors in meeting the threshold, and the data in the study cannot be used to compare processing methods.
The threshold and sampling plan provided in the study will help consumers of GFCO certified products by enhancing the safety of whole grain foods.
Read the full report here: Determining the Presence of Gluten-Containing Grains in Gluten-Free Oats