New label to certify gluten-free goods

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A new US gluten-free certification aims to meet consumer demand for genuine products that carry the claim, say the groups behind the programme.

The Quality Assurance International (QAI) and the healthcare nonprofit National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) claim their “Certified Gluten-Free” label is independent and science-based, verified through inspections and product testing.

“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,” said QAI general manager Jaclyn Bowen.

“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.”

Sensitive testing and stringent auditing

According to QAI and NFCA, the new gluten-free certification programme requires sensitive testing procedures, a stringent auditing and an independent application review process.

This programme will involve an annual inspection that will evaluate feedback from consumers, manufacturers and retailers. This will include product reviews, ingredient verifications and onsite inspections.

Ongoing compliance with the scheme is also monitored, including random product testing, they said.

All companies are required to produce products at less than 10 parts per million (ppm) of gluten to receive certification.

“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,” said the QAI and NFCA.

“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.”

Source: Bakery and Snacks