Surprising Results in Oat Cereals Study by

-- Popular Brands Tested for Fungal Toxin, Gluten and Heavy Metals --
White Plains, New York, August 30, 2016 — Cheerios, rolled oats, steel-cut oats and other oat cereals can be a healthy choice for breakfast. However, concern was raised in 2015 when researchers reported finding ochratoxin A, a fungal toxin and potential human carcinogen, in 70% of oat-based cereals purchased across the U.S., with 11% exceeding the limit applied in Europe (there is no U.S. limit). Although oats are naturally gluten-free, cross-contamination with gluten from wheat during processing is also a potential problem.

To find out what's actually in oat-based cereals, recently purchased 16 products (including one buckwheat cereal) and tested each for ochratoxin A, gluten, and heavy metals such as lead, which can occur in plant-based products.

ConsumerLab's tests found ochratoxin A to be less of a problem than previously reported, with only a small amount found in one sample of a single product. However, several products contained significant amounts of gluten. tested products against the FDA "gluten-free" standard (no more than 20 ppm of gluten) as well its own, more stringent "ultra gluten-free" standard (no more than 5 ppm). Not all FDA "gluten-free" products met CL's higher standard, while two products which were not labeled "gluten-free" actually qualified as ultra gluten-free. None of the products were contaminated with lead, cadmium or arsenic.

"We were surprised to discover so much gluten in certain oat cereals," said Tod Cooperman, M.D., President of "However, it was a relief to find that levels of ochratoxin A were very low in the products we reviewed. It's possible that quality practices have improved with regard to ochratoxin A or we just happened to choose products which were less contaminated," he added.'s Review of Oat Cereals is available online at In addition to test results and quality ratings, the review includes's "Top Picks" among the following products: 365 Organic Quick Oats, Arrowhead Mills Organic Oat Bran Flakes, Bob's Red Mill Organic Old Fashioned Rolled Oats, Bob's Red Mill Quick Cooking Oats, Bob's Red Mill Steel Cut Oats, Coach's Oats, General Mills Cheerios, Gerber Oatmeal Cereal, Hodgson Mill Old Fashioned Oat Bran Hot Cereal, McCann's Quick & Easy Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal, McCann's Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal, Quaker Instant Oatmeal Original, Quaker Oats Old Fashioned, Trader Joe's Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats, Trader Joe's Rolled Oats, and Wolff's Kasha. 

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