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From Our Dietitians: Are Oats Safe if You Avoid Gluten?

Nutrition, Allergies

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At SAGE, we take food allergies very seriously. We pay careful attention to the ingredients we use and post them online for guests to view. We also tag every recipe in our collection that contains any of the top 12 most common allergens recognized by the United States and Canada.

Sometimes, though, allergen tagging isn’t straightforward. This is the case when it comes to oats.

Although oats are naturally gluten free, they frequently come into contact with grains that contain gluten, such as wheat, barley, and rye. This can occur in the field, during transportation or manufacturing, or in storage. According to a Canadian study, 88% of conventionally grown oats are contaminated with gluten from other grains. This means conventional oats pose a risk to guests with a gluten allergy, intolerance, or sensitivity, including those diagnosed with celiac disease.

Leading medical organizations recommend that individuals with celiac disease avoid conventional oats due to the high likelihood of gluten contamination. Most individuals with celiac disease can tolerate certified gluten-free oats, but it’s recommended that they consult with their physician or care team before consuming any type of oats.

Because we’re committed to safety, we’ve tagged conventional oats as containing gluten, since in almost all cases they’ll have come into contact with it. However, if certified gluten-free oats are used in a recipe, you won’t see the gluten tag.

If you need to avoid gluten or any other allergens, you can view allergen tags and full ingredient lists on our online menus and in the Touch of SAGE® Mobile App. Allergen tags are also shown on point-of-service signage in the dining halls, so everyone can enjoy a delicious, worry-free meal!

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