Is It Dangerous To Eat Raw Oats?
Some foods are potentially dangerous when eaten raw, such as flour. But what about raw oats? You can blend raw oats into a smoothie, make overnight oats, or use them to make delicious balls or bites, but are they safe to eat this way or will they make you sick? Below you'll find several examples of when eating raw oats can be potentially dangerous and when they're safe to eat.
Read on, then for more healthy eating tips check out Are Rolled Oats Just as Healthy as Steel Cut?
Raw Rolled Oats Are Safe To Eat
There are several forms of oats, but rolled oats are one of the more popular varieties. According to the FDA, rolled oats are produced from 100% dehulled, clean oat groats that are steamed, cut, rolled, and flaked. Similarly, instant or "1-minute" oats are groats that are cut into several pieces and then steamed and rolled. Because they are cut into smaller pieces, they can be cooked quicker. Steaming the oats helps minimize the risk of pathogenic microorganisms being present and makes it safe to eat raw. This is why overnight oats or recipes that use raw rolled or instant oats are safe to eat.
Further, according to the Quaker website, oats can be consumed without cooking them first, like when you want to make no-bake cookies, for example. However, some folks have a more sensitive digestive tract, so if you're trying raw oats for the first time, introduce them into your diet slowly and drink fluids when you do so.
Be Mindful of Food Safety
Although using raw oats to make overnight oats is safe, you still need to keep in mind that overnight oats need to be refrigerated. Moist carbs create an environment for bacteria to grow, and the best way to minimize any bacterial growth and keep your overnight oats safe is to keep them refrigerated and not leave them on the countertop overnight.
To keep your raw oats as fresh as possible, it's important to store them properly. Several ways to do so, recommended by Michigan State University, include:
- Storing unopened dry oatmeal in a cool, dry place.
- Storing opened oats in their original container with a tight-fitting lid. It should then be covered with a resealable plastic bag or in a plastic or glass container. Opened oats should be used within 1 year.
- Storing dry raw oats in a freezer bag in the freezer for up to 1 year.
The "best by" or "best if use by" dates are quality suggestions put on the package by food manufacturers. The oats are still safe to eat after this date. However, if the oats develop a strange taste or smell, then discard immediately.