Imagine a pile of dirt you swept to the middle of your kitchen. You set down the dustpan, pressing the lip into the floor while sweeping all that dirt into it. Then, you pick up the dustpan only to find a line of dirt that was left on the floor (that line is called a deedle — no joke). You groan and repeat the effort, but there’s still another deedle, albeit a smaller one. Do it again and there is still an even smaller deedle. And so you keep repeating until you feel you can’t see it anymore…but it’s still there.
Now imagine the floor is a delivery of oats and sweeping it up is the sorting method companies like General Mills and Quaker are using. Sweep (sort) as much of it as you want, but you’ll always have that deedle. I’m calling them: dirty oats.
It’s a sordid mess…
Thanks to Tricia Thompson of Gluten-Free Watchdog, she set out to compile a list of manufacturers and suppliers of clean oats — gluten-free oats grown under purity protocol, the only oats recommended for those of us with Celiac and NCGS. What she found were companies of gluten-free oat products were already using dirty oats.
Purity protocol/clean oats are grown from pure seed stock in fields that have not grown gluten containing grains. They are harvested with equipment, transported by trucks, and stored in grain towers that are gluten-free and have not done the same for gluten-full grains. Think of it as the perfect restaurant you dine in…everything they make your dinner in has never touched anything with gluten nor has it touched the work surfaces.
Mechanically sorted/dirty oats, are not safe for us by any means. You can put it through whatever test you want to get it below 20ppm, but they will always be dirty. To help you with this visual of these types of oats being dirty, I want you to take a second and go to this post from Gluten Dude, scroll down to the picture of the sorted grains. Those barley and wheat grains were mixed in with the oats. This is why I previously used the analogy of picking croutons out of your salad and still eating it. It’s the same thing.
Companies are turning to dirty oats, even ones we’ve trusted in the past (as you’ll see by their absence from the list GFW put together), and we’re getting sick for their increasing profit margins because the dirty oats are cheaper for them. If we continue to buy from companies using dirty oats, we’re lowering the demand for clean oats. It’s Economics 101 and there’s been a shift in the demand which has created an excess supply because it’s not being sold.
Right now, GF Harvest may be putting their 2016 crop on hold because of this shift — they still have clean oats stored, unsold. I had the pleasure of meeting Forrest Smith several years ago at the Allergy & Gluten-Free Expo. Forrest started growing oats and milling them with a countertop mill under purity protocol as part of an FFA entrepreneurship program in high school. He is passionate about providing our community with truly gluten-free oats; it’s in his eyes when he tells his story. He was diagnosed with Celiac at age 2 and many more in his family have been diagnosed since. The family founded GF Harvest in GF Harvest and handles the growing and milling of the gluten-free oats themselves. This is a true family farm that needs all of us to demand clean oats.
This is not a sponsored post and I am not benefitting from this post in any way. This is about awareness of our gluten-free food supply and support of a farm who does right by our community. If any other farmers of purity protocol oats openly stated they were in this position as well, I’d be supporting them without hesitation. These are the people who should be getting our dollars, not multi-million/billion dollar corporations who only want more money in their pockets.
Also understand that if we continue to buy from corporations using dirty oats, production of clean oats will end. We already give up a lot in our diets now, do we really want to give up one more thing because we aren’t using our collective voices and our money to keep the supply of clean oats in demand?
Please consider supporting the Smith family and their farm. They have a special starter pack of three different types of pure oats with free shipping and (while supplies last) a bonus. Go here for the special offer.