Back in 2010, General Mills changed one ingredient in their Chex cereal line. Switching from malt to molasses, GM launched Rice Chex as gluten free (GF). Its success prompted the release of six more flavors.
Beginning in July of 2015, five Cheerios products will have the same great taste but will be going gluten free: Original, Honey Nut, Apple Cinnamon, Frosted, and Multi-Grain Cheerios. While Chex is made from rice and corn, Cheerios is made from oats, which is a controversial grain in the gluten free community.
Oats are controversial because they are contaminated by wheat when they are processed or transported.
Those who have celiac disease (CD) and gluten sensitivity (GS) are advised to consume only certified gluten free oats. Even then, a percentage of those with CD and GS still react against any oats. (Even certified GF oats should be carefully introduced, especially into the diet of someone newly diagnosed).
Chex instant hot oatmeal, made from gluten free WHOLE oats, was launched in 2014. There is only a limited supply of GF oats. To launch Cheerios which require a large quantity to be made into OAT FLOUR, General Mills decided to mechanically filter regular oats to eliminate cross contamination, rendering them gluten free.
General Mills is aware of the gluten free FDA labeling guidelines and are testing to ensure the standard of less than 20ppm is met. They have a great reputation as a responsible company.
While the gluten free/celiac community applauds General Mills for producing another mainstream GF cereal which costs less than some GF cereals and is more widely available, some early questions have arisen:
1. Why not a third party certification?
2. It is understood that the mechanical filtering is a competitive secret, specially developed by GM at great cost. If they can’t reveal it, why can’t they release more on the type of testing done, as well as the quantity of testing done?
3. Why can’t they use gluten free oats, developing a demand?
Of all the 5 GF Cheerios, Multi-Grain will go through the biggest reformulation. Its wheat and barley ingredients will be replaced with sorghum and millet.
What do you think about the new GF Cheerios?