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The Oat Conundrum: Are Oats Gluten-Free?

Many of the gluten-free recipes we have here at The Kitchn contain oats. We rely quite a lot, in fact, on oats and oat flour when cooking for friends who are gluten-intolerant. But, as you may have noticed, there is some question about oats and whether they are actually safe for gluten-intolerant folks.
So here's the big question: Are oats truly gluten-free? Read on for the answer.
The short answer is YES — non-contaminated, pure oats are gluten-free. They are safe for most people with gluten-intolerance.
The main problem with oats in gluten-free eating is contamination. Most commercial oats are processed in facilities that also process wheat, barley, and rye. The gluten in these ingredients can contaminate oats, and the nature of most gluten intolerances is that even a trace amount of gluten can cause severe discomfort. So that box of Quaker Oats? Probably not gluten-free.
Contamination can also happen in the field, when oats are grown side-by-side with fields of wheat. And contamina…