Cereal is a classic staple in many households, whether you think of it as a breakfast must-have or an evening treat. Throughout my gluten-free journey, I’ve found that most cereal I used to eat contains gluten.
However, as Cheerios brands themselves as being “Simple Good Food” I wondered if there was still a chance to include this in my diet. So I did some digging to answer my question, are Cheerios gluten-free?
Yes, the original cheerios and multiple other flavors are gluten-free. They abide by the FDA regulatory standard of containing less than 20 ppm.
This is clearly indicated on the box in the United States; however, this is not the case everywhere as the company has announced they will be removing the gluten-free label on Canadian Products.
Read on to find out the reasoning behind the label change, the ingredients that go into making Cheerios, and the gluten-free flavors they have to offer.
Cheerios in Canada
While Cheerios are often thought of as an American staple, General Mills, the company that produces Cheerios, was founded in Mississauga, Ontario, in 1954.
They have a wide range of products that you can find in your local grocery store across the country. Keep your eyes peeled as you will start to see less and less of these products with a gluten-free label.
Though the company complies with the gluten-free standards in Canada as well as the US, they have decided to remove the gluten-free labeling until Canadian government agencies release a steady protocol for oat testing.
The ingredients will not change, and the amount of gluten will remain under the standard 20 ppm. The box will just begin to look a bit different. Products with the gluten-free label will not be pulled off the shelves but left to fade out.
To ensure you can eat everything that is inside Cheerios, read on.
Original Cheerios Ingredients
Cheerios are produced in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, by the General Mills Team. The company is sent oat flour from their in-house distributor to the plant, producing this gluten-free goodness. Cheerios claims their gluten-free products on both their boxes (in the US) and website, but it never hurts to know exactly what you’re eating.
Below I have individually listed each ingredient that goes into making cheerios so you can see they are gluten-free.
Whole Grain Oats
Oats can be tricky as they are naturally gluten-free, but they do not always remain this way. Cross Contamination often takes place on the farm due to conventional practices.
Cross-contamination continues during processing as many plants use shared equipment. Therefore it is always best to ensure your oats have a gluten-free label or certification. You won’t have to worry about cross-contamination in your Cheerios as they have a system that separates all of the gluten-containing grains from the oats.
Their oats weren’t always gluten-free. The idea was born when a research and development team member discovered his daughter-in-law was diagnosed with celiacs disease. The team was inspired to make their cereal consumable for those who adhere to a gluten-free diet.
This intensive project required the team to repurpose equipment, create new systems, and even build a new seven-story building. Five years later, they were able to offer Cheerios completely gluten-free.
Check out this video to see how the oats are sorted and hear more about Cheerio’s gluten-free journey.
Corn starch is often my go-to flour replacement for many recipes. Cornstarch is a fine white powder produced from parts of corn grain. It is naturally gluten-free, however like many products, particular brands are manufactured in a factory with gluten-containing ingredients leading to (you guessed it) cross-contamination.
You do not need to worry about Cheerios as they claim the cornstarch is gluten-free. When purchasing your own, make sure you check for a gluten-free label that is not produced in a plant containing wheat or gluten.
I’m sure you are all aware of what sugar is. That tiny crystal-like carbohydrate quickly sweetens any meal or beverage. While you have to be careful with many ingredients on a gluten-free diet, sugar is not one of them. Sugar is naturally produced in the leaves of the sugarcane plant.
Though the original Cheerios don’t taste very sweet, there is a gram of sugar in the ingredients.
Salt is another common ingredient we often use in our daily life and is thankfully gluten-free. The mineral is naturally made and consists of sodium chloride.
Tripotassium phosphate, also known as tribasic potassium phosphate, is commonly used in food as a perseverative. This colorless or sometimes white odorless powder is gluten-free. Remember that this ingredient is gluten-free. It may come in handy in future label reading.
Vitamin E is fat-soluble and often found in many vegetable oils, cereals, meat, poultry, eggs, and fruits. It is an antioxidant and is required for the function of multiple human organs. Cheerios use this to preserve the cereal’s freshness; it is naturally gluten-free.
Honey Nut Cheerios Ingredients
The original Cheerios may be the favorite in some households, but when I hear the Cheerios brand name, I immediately think of the honey nut variation. One bite, and I’m brought back to Saturday morning cartoons and a big bowl of cereal.
Thankfully this flavor is also gluten-free. You can find the full list of the ingredients below.
- Whole Grain Oats
- Oat Bran
- Rice Bran Oil and/or Canola Oil
- Tripotassium phosphate
- Natural Almond Flavor
- Vitamin E
Flavors of Cheerios go far beyond the original and honey nut. Cheerios make it easy to find out what variations are gluten-free.
Go to the cheerios website, select products, and check the gluten-free box under the special diets category. All gluten-free options will be listed, and the gluten-free flavors are clearly labeled on the box.
The complete list of gluten-free Cheerios is below:
- Honey Nut
- Apple Cinnamon
- Chocolate Strawberry
- Very Berry
- Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice
While they have a wide range, not all are gluten-free.
None of the Oat Crunch variations are gluten-free. These include the Oat Crunch cinnamon, oat crunch almond, and oat crunch honey.
The Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheerios, Multigrain Cheerios with Real Strawberries, and Honey Nut Cheerios Treat Bars all contain gluten.
According to FDA standards, Cheerios are gluten-free. You can see this labeled on their box as long as you’re not shopping in Canada. There is a range of gluten-free flavors; just check the label or ingredients as some variations do contain gluten.
Are you looking for some coffee to go with your breakfast cereal? Check out Starbucks gluten-free menu.