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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 exceeded strict contamination limits for 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.

Founded in 1999, is a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition. Membership to is available online and provides immediate access to reviews of more than 1,000 products from over 400 brands. The company is privately held and based in Westchester, New York. It has no ownership from, or interest in, companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products.

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