General Mills says Cheerios will soon be gluten-free

Cheerios at 70
Boxes of Cheerios are shown in a grocery store.
David Duprey / AP 2011

People who are eating gluten-free will soon be able to add Cheerios to their breakfast menus.

Starting in July, five Cheerios products, including the original and Honey Nut versions, will be free of the protein commonly found in wheat.

Oats, typically the main ingredient in Cheerios, don't contain the gluten. But the oats are often contaminated with wheat and other grains that do contain gluten. Twin Cities-based General Mills says it has developed a process to remove that wheat, rye and barley from its supply of oats to ensure Cheerios is gluten-free.

"This is a process that took several years," said Evan Shuster, associate marketing manager for Cheerios. "We've been working on this process internally for a while now. We'll start producing that product in gluten-free cartons in July and we expect consumers will start to see that on shelves around August or September."

The company estimates that as many as 30 percent of Americans avoid gluten, by choice or medical necessity. General Mills says that more than 600 of its products are gluten-free.