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Responding to growth and both consumer and industry demand, a new science-based gluten-free certification program is now available from organic certifier Quality Assurance International and the health care nonprofit National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.
The groups said 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 a healthy diet.
“The profound growth in the marketplace has necessitated a stronger emphasis on food safety for the 17 million families looking for gluten-free foods,” said 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.”
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 health care 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.
“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,” said Jaclyn Bowen, QAI general manager. “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 certification program requires sensitive testing procedures, a stringent auditing and an independent application review process. It uses feedback from consumers, manufacturers and retailers, and includes product review, onsite inspection, testing to ensure compliance to 10 ppm or less and 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 new “Certified Gluten-Free” consumer label were unveiled to the grocery industry at the recent KeHE Show in Chicago.
Founded in 1989, San Diego-based QAI is the leading provider of organic certification services worldwide verifying organic integrity throughout the supply chain.
NSF International, an independent organization founded in 1944, certifies products and writes standards for food, water and consumer goods to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment.
The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness drives diagnosis of celiac disease, improves quality of-life for children and families adhering to a gluten-free diet and advances science by facilitating collaborations within the healthcare community.