Gluten in Cheerios?! More on Gluten Free Oats

There’s Gluten In Cheerios?!

General Mills’ iconic Cheerios brand has voluntarily recalled some lots of Yellow Box and Honey Nut Cheerios labeled as GLUTEN FREE due to gluten contamination, after reports of consumer illness.

Read below for more information on the recall, how General Mills has determined that some of its Cheerios products may be labeled “gluten-free,” and what to do if you have purchased boxes of contaminated Cheerios.

gfJules-Cheerios Buzz Caption Contest


Due to reports of consumer illness, the FDA has now tested 36 samples of Cheerios products labeled “gluten free” for gluten contamination as well, finding one Honey Nut Cheerios sample that contained more than twice what is allowed under FDA gluten-free labeling rules. The sample testing at 43ppm was from one of the recalled lots. Please check the “use by” dates on any boxes you may have:

cheerios recall


If you have been made sick by Cheerios boxes labeled Gluten Free, please contact the FDA MEDWATCH Adverse Event Reporting System (800) 332-1088 (choose option #4 to speak to a representative) or online.

If you’d like to report your experience to General Mills and/or want a refund, call 800-775-8370.

If you’d like to sign the petition, go here.


The Canadian Celiac Associate (CCA) recently reacted to the news that General Mills is introducing “gluten free” Cheerios to Canada, but they are made with mechanically or optically sorted oats, not with purity protocol oats. Here is an excerpt from their position statement recommending that celiacs NOT eat these Cheerios or any other products made with sorted oats:

We know the following:

  1. Oats are an extremely high risk grain and even “gluten-free oats” are at high risk for gluten contamination.
  2. It is very difficult to remove gluten-containing grains from oats using optical and mechanical technology alone because barley and wheat are similar in size, shape and color as oats. Broken kernels present in the grain also add to the sorting challenge.
  3. General Mills is using a cleaning system that they developed based on mechanical sorting to remove barley and wheat from regular commercial oats.
  4. Gluten contamination in oats is not distributed evenly through a batch; therefore, “hot spots” of high contamination can occur.

Based on the information provided to date, our scientific advisors are not convinced that the testing procedures described by General Mills are sufficient to detect these contamination “hot spots” in the oats and oat flour or in the boxes of cereal that may contain those contaminated oats. As a result, some boxes of cereal in the market may be safe for people with celiac disease while others contain significant gluten contamination that has not been detected using current testing protocols.

The CCA is receptive to evaluating any additional information that General Mills is willing to disclose. Until then, the CCA stands by its advice that people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should not consume Cheerios products in spite of the gluten-free claim.

Update: July 2017:

Reports of illness from Cheerios continue to stream in to the FDA. Buzzfeed filed a Freedom of Information Request and reported on the claims which are still being made by celiacs and others who say they’ve been sickened by Cheerios. Jocelyn Silvester, a physician at Boston Children’s Hospital, says that her team recommends patients with celiac disease avoid products made with mechanically-optically separated oats, noting that it remains unclear whether any given product is safe and there is no reliable tool to find out for sure.

For more information on why gluten-free experts are not satisfied with General Mills’ current testing protocols for Cheerios boxes labeled “gluten free,” go to The Gluten Free Watchdog.

radio microphoneTo learn more about the kind of oats Cheerios is using, versus “pure” and certified gluten-free oats, listen to this “Gluten Free Voice” free podcast.


25 thoughts on “Gluten in Cheerios?! More on Gluten Free Oats

  1. Pingback: Gluten Free Oats Safe for Celiacs - Gluten free recipes - gfJules - with the REAL Jules

  2. This product may be processed with and on equipment that contains gluten. We apologize for any mild discomfort this may cause.

  3. I did not have a box of Cheerios being recalled, but I did get very sick after eating cereal from the yellow box labeled g2g.

  4. We have so many!

    *If you have a Severe Wheat Allergy, note that our production lines may be contaminated (with wheat)

    *Made on equipment shared with wheat

    * Perfect for the Gluten Free Fad dieter

    Gluten Free, NOT

    Proceed with Caution. Eat at your own risk.

    Would you like a side of wheat toast with that?

    Part of a complete wheat breakfast

    Start your day with a little gluten

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