The Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG), the leader in the certification of gluten-free products and food services, announced that, in collaboration with leading oat processors, it has published an industry agreed-upon definition and requirements for operating under a “Purity Protocol”—a claim made by processors for the provision of gluten-free oats. The "Definition of the 'Purity Protocol' for Producing Gluten-Free Oats", written by GIG and published by AACC International (formerly the American Association of Cereal Chemists), provides transparency to the industry and gluten-free consumers, and it allows for auditing of the Purity Protocol claim.

While studies have found that oats are safe for the vast majority of those with celiac disease, they can be contaminated by wheat, rye or barley during farming, processing and storage. Purity Protocol is a farm-to-plate method of ensuring that oats are gluten-free and have met requirements for seed stock purity as well as criteria for harvesting, transport, storage, processing and manufacturing.

“Given the continuing growth of the market for gluten-free products, it is essential that terms like Purity Protocol be defined for both food manufacturers and consumers,” said Cynthia Kupper, CEO of GIG. “Up until this collaborative effort, there was no agreed-upon definition for the Purity Protocol. Without a universal definition, buyers and consumers can’t be sure that every oat supplier using the term is operating according to industry-accepted and uniform best practices. Now we have a minimum definition and requirements, and that builds consumer confidence.”

To generate an agreed-upon definition, GIG worked with the four primary oat processors in the U.S. and Canada that currently use the Purity Protocol claim: Montana Gluten Free Processors, Cream Hill Estates, Gluten Free Harvest/Canyon Oats, and Avena Foods Limited. GIG led the effort to validate how it defines the Purity Protocol in its Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) program, the leading certification program for quality, integrity and purity of gluten-free products.