MINNEAPOLIS — A General Mills, Inc. patent that involves a method and system for removing foreign, gluten-containing grains to establish gluten-free oats was published Aug. 23. The patent with the application No. US 20180236453 A1 shows a way to achieve oat grains with gluten levels below 20 parts per million (p.p.m.) and, more preferably, below 10 p.p.m.

The U.S. federal government stipulates products promoted as gluten-free may have a maximum of 20 p.p.m. of gluten. Oats do not contain gluten, but they may be commingled with gluten-containing grains, including wheat, barley, rye and triticale, through actions such as harvesting, transporting and storing.

Under the patent, mechanical differentiation operations may be arranged in series or in a combination of series and parallel operations. The various operations preferably include width grading and multiple length grading steps as well as a potential debearding step.

The resulting oats may be used in gluten-free oat food products, including cereal and granola.