Understanding the Supply Chain of Gluten Free Products

Understanding the Supply Chain of Gluten Free Products

June 1, 2016

By Lori Alexander, Manager of Nutrition Sciences at Quaker Oats

Gluten free eating continues to rise for those with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or those choosing it as a part of their definition of healthy living.  Today's shoppers want transparency about how their food is grown and produced. They also want to know that great care has been taken to ensure gluten free integrity of the product throughout the whole supply chain.

Quaker Oats, the world's leader in oat milling, has called upon our expertise to ensure our new gluten free oatmeal meets the FDA standards for gluten free. Our goal is to help you as a retail dietitian better understand the grain supply chain to effectively communicate to your shoppers the integrity of companies like Quaker Oats in bringing products to your store shelf and into their homes.

While oats are naturally gluten free, they may come in contact with wheat, rye and barley at the farm, in storage or during transportation. Our millers discovered that when this happens, gluten isn’t evenly scattered throughout oats, but instead is found in pockets or streaks – we call this kernel-based contamination.

Here’s how our experts ensure that our new products are free from gluten-containing grains;

  • As we have for decades, we source only the highest quality oats available.
  • The oats are first screened when they arrive at our Cedar Rapids, Iowa mill (the largest oat mill in the world), and only those which meet our specifications move on to gluten free production.
  • Our unparalleled oat milling experience has allowed us to design a breakthrough mechanical and optical sorting system which aggressively seeks out and removes gluten-containing grains in a dedicated cleaning house for gluten free products.
  • Analytical testing is performed at robust levels to ensure each lot meets FDA and Quaker standards for gluten free.
  • Only if all samples pass is the lot used for gluten free processing. If any lot does not pass, we are able to repurpose that lot for use in non-gluten free products. (Hurray- no waste!)
  • During the milling process, dedicated gluten free cutting and flaking equipment is used, and the oats are transported to the packaging line in dedicated tanks.
  • The packaging line is thoroughly cleaned with a validated procedure in accordance with food safety protocols.
  • Any and all additional ingredients that are added during packaging have been pre-screened and validated to be gluten free.
  • Once packaged, we test samples of finished product from each production lot for additional assurance that they meet FDA and Quaker standards for gluten free before we send it out our doors and to your breakfast table.
  • We analyze individual serving sizes and do not composite samples. If any single sample fails to meet our standard, the entire production lot is destroyed.

The end result of this due diligence is that your gluten free shoppers can feel confident in their purchase of our new gluten free oatmeal in Quick 1-Minute Oats and Instant Oatmeal in Original and Maple & Brown Sugar.

For more information about our production process of gluten free oatmeal, please contact me at lori.alexander@pepsico.com.