As the number of gluten and wheat sensitive individuals continues to rise, a science-based certification program is now available to safely promote certified gluten-free foods.
The leading organic certifier, Quality Assurance International (QAI), and the healthcare nonprofit, National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) have launched the certification that will now be able to confidently allow verification through inspections and product testing, bringing full transparency to the growing number of consumers either diagnosed with the celiac sprue wheat and gluten allergy or those just seeking to avoid gluten.
Unlike certifying foods organic—QAI's specialty—mislabeling of foods containing gluten could lead to serious health issues if ingested by someone with an allergy. Cross contamination is a major factor in ingredients that may share storage or transport facilities with gluten-containing products. It's a risk even if the manufacturer is solely dedicated to a gluten-free offering.
The new certification will require sensitive testing procedures, auditing and review processes in order for a manufacturer to earn the label. Compliance of less than 10 ppm of gluten or wheat will be needed to qualify for the program and random testing will insure continual adherence to strict gluten-free guidelines.
More than 17 million families are reported to shop for gluten-free foods according to a statement from Alice Bast, the NCA's 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.”
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