A patent application by US cereal giant General Mills on a method and system designed to establish gluten-free oats has been published in the US.

According to the application, published on 21 July, the patent covers “various mechanical differentiation operations on a combination of grains, including oat grains and gluten-containing grains, [that] allow the oat grains to have gluten levels below 20 parts per million (ppm.), preferably ten ppm.

The application said the gluten-free oats could be used in a range of gluten-free oat food products, including cereal and granola lines.

US federal government rules require products labelled as gluten-free to have a maximum gluten level of 20 ppm.

In June, General Mills said it was teaming up with the South Dakota State University in a research project aimed at improving the nutritional makeup of oats, developing varieties with larger yields and increasing sustainability.

In July, General Mills said its cereal brand Cheerios was going gluten free in Canada and offering five different varieties. It launched gluten-free Cheerios in the US last year.