New Gluten Free Chex Oatmeal product line

New Gluten Free Chex Oatmeal product line

We have heard the rumblings over the past month or so….Chex is coming out with a gluten free oatmeal!  It is already rolling out on store shelves now and you may be wondering what it’s all about.

Last month the team at Chex gave me free samples of their three packages of instant oatmeals (maple and brown sugar, apple cinnamon and a variety pack that included plain flavor), plus I got a bag of their regular gluten free oatmeal.

I tried all four products and I think they are a great alternative for gluten-free folks.  The flavored instant oatmeal options, while too sweet for me, are a good replacement for people who  want a gluten-free version of those hot cereals.  Both the Maple and Brown Sugar and the Apple Cinnamon taste just as I remember as a kid.

Now as an adult, I prefer the regular gluten-free oatmeal where I add a little half and half and brown sugar. It was very creamy and yummy!  I have not yet tried it for cookies but hope to soon.

In the past, the price point has been very expensive for a large bag of oats.  This brand brings it to a more manageable level: all of the oatmeal products are priced between $3.00-$4.00.   The bag of oatmeal is 16 ounces.  For comparison, you can get a 32 ounce bag of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Rolled Oats for $7.49.  So roughly the price and amount of oats is cut in half when you purchase the Chex version (a good size when non-gf friends and family want to make you gluten-free oatmeal cookies and don’t want to hold onto a big bag forever).  As for the instant oatmeal, it has 6 bags inside each box.

I recently found these products in the oatmeal section of my grocery store, NOT in the gluten-free section.  

Chex GF Oatmeal ingredient label

Chex GF Oatmeal ingredient label

Gluten Free Oats

I had a few questions about labeling. The front of the package says gluten free.  On the back and under the ingredients it says gluten free.  But IN the actual ingredients list it says: WHOLE GRAIN OATS (to be fair, Bob’s Red Mill’s GF Oats lists it the same way according to their website).  

Normally, when looking at a product’s ingredient list if it just says oats, rather than gluten free oats, that is a red flag for me.  So I asked them about why they don’t say “gluten free whole grain oats” in the ingredient listing.

Chex said, “FDA regulations require listing the common and usual name of ingredients, but don’t allow extraneous language among the ingredients, such as the phrase ‘gluten-free.’ Therefore, we’ve highlighted gluten-free labels on front of pack and back of pack in Chex Cereal and Oatmeal, but not in the actual ingredient deck.”

“We strictly adhere to [Food and Drug Administration] FDA regulations for the ingredient deck found on our food packaging, which indicates that the ingredients within the product meet the qualifications for gluten free. Consumers can also be confident that we do label ‘gluten free’ on the rest of the package, which indicates that all the ingredients within it, not just the oats (in such cases as the instant oatmeal packs) , are gluten free.”

Another item that many gluten free people  are concerned about  is processing and handling of the oats in a gluten-free environment.   When asked, Chex replied: “Whenever we manufacture gluten-free products like both Chex Cereal and Oatmeal, we take specific steps to avoid opportunities for gluten or gluten-containing ingredients to get into our products, processes and equipment. General Mills has stringent programs and precautions in place to assure the product meets gluten-free requirements.”

“Additionally, General Mills performs testing at the ingredient and finished product level to test for the presence of gluten. Finally, gluten-free products are routinely analyzed to assure ongoing compliance with the FDA proposed regulation for ‘gluten free,’ which require that gluten levels must test below 20 parts per million. All General Mills products labeled as ‘gluten free’ meet or exceed this standard.”

I do think this product helps bring gluten free oatmeal to the masses.  It is from a mainstream brand, shoppers will likely see it in the cereal section and the price point isn’t so high that you feel like it will break the bank just to try it. But as a consumer, I would still like to see “gluten-free whole grain oats” in the ingredient list.  

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21 Responses to “Review: New Gluten Free Oatmeal from Chex”

  1. I had the Maple Brown Sugar this morning and loved it. Although I do call oatmeal like this “sugar oats,” for a reason.

  2. I have not tried it yet but did buy a box hesitantly yesterday. I’m concerned that the package doesn’t have any of the “certified gluten free” labels I’m used to seeing. I scanned the box for quite some time looking for it and didn’t see any. I’m glad they state that they follow the guidelines but it would be huge if people didn’t have to look that up like I am now.

  3. Margaret, Chex is aware how some consumers feel about this. As you read in the article, Chex states it is following the labeling guidelines per the FDA. And, technically, they are right. I inquired with Tricia Thompson (both a gluten-free dietitian and founder of GlutenFree Watchdog) about it. She inquired further with the FDA and found surprising info, that indeed adding the term gluten-free to the word oats in the ingredient listing might be considered “extraneous language” and not allowed. Read her follow up here: https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/blog/Special-Report-The-Use-of-Oats-in-Gluten-Free-Foods/36

  4. Thank you for your thoroughness!

  5. Was diagnosed 18 years ago and I have been buying the Chex GF cereals since they were first marketed and I can honestly say that I have never had a problem with any if them! I have always unfortunately had a problem with even certified GF oats (oatmeal is one of the things I miss the most from BGF) but I am always willing to try them again when something new like this comes out. Will look for them at my local grocer. Maybe this brand will be the ONE!!!!!

  6. Thank you for this! Someone gave me this oatmeal and I was wary to try it because exactly what you said about whole grain oats being the ingredients and no certified symbol. Thanks again!

  7. I received a call the other day from one of m members who bought
    this oatmeal and did get desperately sick from it. When I questioned her about the ingredients on the package, while it did (does) say
    gluten free it does NOT say “certified gluten free oats” as it should say as oats are a problem for many people. In order to be labeled
    certified gluten free oats” the oats themselves must be grown in a non-contaminated field away from other grains and also processed in a facility that is also “certified gluten free.” For those people who are sensitive this is a very important distinction, and means for most of us, we would not be able to eat it. Other companies like Bob’s Red Mill and Gluten Freeda (and a couple of other)s do use certified gluten free oats which might account for the price difference and certainly be worth it for those who need to be careful. Frankly, I think Chex made a huge mistake by not using certified gluten free oats and will make sure to spread the word.

  8. I have been very sick for two days after eating the Chex Oatmeal! Absolutely Miserable! I will stick with Bob’s Red Mill certified GF oats for sure!

  9. I tried this product on Saturday and since then (now Wednesday), I’ve been very sick. About 10 minutes after eating my head started hurting and knew it was an allergic reaction. The cereals are great but don’t eat the oatmeal. Something isn’t right and it set me off the hardest I’ve been hit in a long time.

  10. I too was concerned with the way oats were listed on the label. I don’t understand Chex’s answer above about not being allowed to use “extraneous language among the ingredients”. Other gluten-free brands do it (Van’s for instance), so it must be allowed.

    At any rate, I ate this product and I too feel as though I have been glutened. I’m pretty strict with my diet and this is the newest product I’ve tried. Maybe it’s coincidence, but I found this blog looking for others who might have had a problem and it looks like I’m not alone…

  11. Sorry you are not feeling well. I will say I checked in with Tricia Thompson founder of GlutenFreeWatchdog.org about their labeling claim. She checked with the FDA and found out they were right! She updated her post on Oats because of this new info– see it here: https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/blog/Special-Report-The-Use-of-Oats-in-Gluten-Free-Foods/36 She was very surprised as well.

  12. I thought I would try them. I had trust i the brand, that it truly is gluten free. I was sick for 3 days. I wasn’t sure what it was that made me so sick. The next week, when I had another bowl of oatmeal, I have been very sick for 2 days now. I know for sure that it was this. That is why I started to research it. I will only get the Trader Joe’s brand for now on.

  13. I was diagnosed with Celiac disease about 10 years ago. I’m very careful with my diet. Sorry to say this Chex product doesn’t work for me. I bought the apple cinnamon oatmeal and had a reaction within 3 hours of eating this cereal. I didn’t immediately point a finger at the oatmeal, however, when eating the oatmeal a second time and experiencing the same reaction, I’m now certain it was the oatmeal.

  14. My son had maple brown sugar chex oatmeal this morning but when he came home this afternoon from school his eczema had flared up. He said within two hours he was itchy. So this is not a good choice for us and chex should take off the Gluten Free label off their packaging as it is not safe to eat. I will be calling customer service to report our incident.

  15. I’ve been eating it, and have been fine! I’ve very sensitive!

  16. I have celiacs. I excitedly bought a variety pack box. I ate a package… seemed okay.
    Ate a second package a day later. Tummy troubles. I placed blame on a possible cross contamination and went back to the store to purchase 6 more boxes because I was so happy with the taste.

    Go figure, I eat another package and I haven’t had gluten pains this bad since I was diagnosed. 🙁 Bummer. Now I have 6 boxes of delicious, however gluteny, oatmeal packages.

  17. Hi,
    I was diagnosed Celiac disease a few years ago and am strict with my diet. After eating Chex I felt that pain that haven’t had for years in my stomach start to crop up, so feel my fears of how it was packaged not saying “Gluten Free/Wheat Free” and “certified organic oats” I guess are with good reason. I read all these articles and they are so confusing it seems. Parts per million?! etc. and I’m a pretty smart girl. I just tried Simple Truth Organic Maple & Brown sugar trusting the “organic oats” although the box doesn’t say Gluten Free and get the feeling again. So guess I just have to stick with buying boxes that say Certified Organic Oats and labeled Gluten Free/Wheat free as well?! Wish somebody could just put it in easy English. We aren’t just doing this for the way we feel, whether it be pain, eczema, or all the different side effects, to be GF for the fun of it, but our lives depend on it really?! I don’t want to get stomach or intestinal cancer as one person I know that was Celiac and continued to eat wheat did and ended up dying from it! All the other autoimmune diseases will continue to be diagnosed if we aren’t careful. My daughter is already Type 1 Diabetic & Thyroid Disease, so its not really something to mess around with?! These diseases seem to multiply once one is there!

  18. Hi there.I have celiac as well as the dermatitis herpetiformis.I have been eating
    the chex oatmeal and have not broken out.I usually break out within 5-10 minutes
    Of eating items with gluten or wheat.

  19. After several members called and reported getting very sick on this oatmeal I called the 800 number and was told although the oats themselves are whole grain, no steps were taken to assure the oats remained gluten free throughout the
    manufacturing process and the product may not be safe for some people.
    With that said, I am beginning to wonder about the rest of their products and would caution anyone who is very sensitive to eat these cereals at their
    own risk. Bob’s Red Mill oats are expensive as the company goes to great lengths to make sure the oats are not only grown properly but are also transported safely and kept safe during the entire manufacturing process. My best advise to members and others, is “buyer beware”. I would be interested in learning more about this problem and appreciate these reviews. I am not saying these oats contain gluten, I am saying they may not be safe for those who are especially sensitive.

  20. Greetings! I’m so sorry to see people are having the same reactions as me! I, too, was super excited to see Chex GF oatmeal for sale. My very supportive husband purchased 6 boxes for his Celiac wife. After a few packets, I started to experience the affects of being “glutened”. Severe abdominal pain, headaches and lovely, explosive diarrhea. It took a full week of going through my food diary and reading every single ingredient I ate only to discover my extreme discomfort was being caused by my delicious oatmeal!

    I’m giving the rest to a local teen homeless shelter. Back to the drawing board. Le sigh.

  21. This is not gluten free in so much pain 🙁

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