Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, semolina, kamut, barley, spelt, triticale, bulgur and rye and forms an elastic-type protein that helps bind molecules, causing flours to rise during baking. Its presence in certain flours contributes to a delicious, chewy bagel or bread dough; however, it is also an allergen for many people. Reactions to eating gluten may appear immediately or hours and days later.

Gluten intolerance can cause serious autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, celiac and Crohn's disease as well as a multitude of other symptoms ranging from irritable bowl syndrome to skin rashes and headaches. Most problems can be prevented by avoiding those foods and adhering to a gluten-free diet.

In recent years there has been a great deal of uncertainty around the question of whether oats are a safe food for people with gluten intolerance, be that coeliac disease or any other condition. There seem to be two key reasons for the confusion. First, that oat crops, like any other crop, can be contaminated with other prohibited cereal crops and this can occur anywhere along the food chain, from the field, during transportation, during milling, processing and even storage. This contamination (even at low levels) has meant that when batches are tested for gluten (gliadin) content they give a positive reading. Second, there are different types of test used to identify gluten, and some can give a false-positive reading even in uncontaminated samples of food. Knowing both of these facts has allowed producers and food manufacturers to bring 'safe' oat products onto the market and to increase the choice of foods available to those with gluten intolerance.