New certified gluten-free label has stringent audit and review processNew certified gluten-free label has stringent audit and review process
March 11, 2015
Responding to profound growth and both consumer and industry demand, a new science-based gluten-free certification program is now available from the leading organic certifier Quality Assurance International (QAI), and the healthcare nonprofit National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA). In a sea of unsubstantiated claims, seals and logos, consumers need a certification that is science-based and verified through inspections and product testing. This new triple-verified gluten-free label brings transparency and trust to people who need gluten-free foods as part of maintaining their healthy diet.
QAI, with its parent company NSF International, an independent public health and safety organization, brings more than 66 years of food safety auditing and certification, and 20 years of organic certification experience, to this new consumer label. NFCA, a recognized healthcare leader in the gluten-free industry, is dedicated to achieving greater accessibility of gluten-free foods and health and food safety solutions for celiac and gluten-intolerant consumers.
New certified gluten-free label has stringent audit and review processTogether, QAI and NFCA bring integrity and rigor to a gluten-free certification program that requires sensitive testing procedures, a stringent auditing and an independent application review process. The program uses feedback from consumers, manufacturers and retailers and includes:
•Testing to ensure compliance to 10ppm or less
•Ongoing compliance including random product testing
Widespread cross-contamination of source ingredients means that even manufacturers who singularly produce gluten-free products must incorporate adequate testing and verification protocols into their operating procedures. The stringent nature of the QAI certification protocols ensures prevention of contamination and co-mingling, critically important for those with allergies to gluten and gluten-intolerance. The QAI and NFCA "Gluten-Free" certification program requires companies to produce products at less than 10 parts per million (ppm) of gluten to receive certification.
"The profound growth in the marketplace has necessitated a stronger emphasis on food safety for the 17 million families looking for gluten-free foods," says Alice Bast, NFCA founder and president. "NFCA's extensive surveying confirms that consumers are seeking a gluten-free certification program that includes ongoing testing and transparency with strict standards that are verified through inspections. These consumers choose certified gluten-free to restore their health—it's about food safety for them."
By bringing certification rigor to the gluten-free category with science-based annual inspection, ingredient verification, random product testing and unannounced audits, this truly independent approval process will fill the gap between unsubstantiated claims and consumer demand for bona fide gluten-free products.
"QAI's 20-year focus in organic certification has made us experts in the prevention of contamination and co-mingling of ingredients; two skills sets that are critical in verifying and assuring gluten-free status," says QAI general manager Jaclyn Bowen. "Nationally, food allergies and the diagnosis of Celiac Disease are on the rise and we want to help eliminate confusion for consumers by providing them with a label they can trust based on sound science."
The QAI and NFCA new "Certified Gluten-Free" consumer label were officially unveiled to the grocery industry at the KeHE Show in Chicago June 12-14.
QAI offers manufacturers and retailers more than one certification by coupling its gluten-free certification with other QAI certification programs (organic, eco-social, non-GMO) as well as with food safety programs through QAI's parent company, NSF International.
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