Do you pay attention to the gluten-free labels on your favorite products when strolling down the grocery store aisles or peeking in your pantry? You may be surprised to know that not all gluten-free certification marks are created equal.
- Business Resources, newhope.com 1
• Some are paid sponsorships
• Others are not third party tested or verified.
• Still more will say gluten-free or have a “GF” but are not certified at all.
Here is information that will help you understand the meaning behind these certification marks, as explained by the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America.
The Gluten-Free Certification Organization
• Tests to a threshold of 10 parts per million (ppm)
• Has a third party accreditation for product certification – the toughest requirements to obtain a certification mark
• Holds company and products accountable through audits, random product testing and process surveillance
Gluten-Free Certification Program
• Tests to a 20 ppm threshold
• Third party accreditation for certification
• Certifies the manufacturers paperwork, not their products
• No additional surveillance testing of products
[Note from the CCA: “The Gluten-Free Certification Program certifies the facility and process as safe, not the products themselves.”]
UK Coeliac Society
• Test to 20 ppm for gluten-free products
• Tests to 100 ppm for ‘low gluten’ products
• Uses adopted existing standards for product certification only
• One annual audit of products and facilities
National Celiac Association, formerly Celiac Sprue Association (CSA)
• Test to a threshold of 5ppm
• Not accredited
The GFCO logo was determined to be the most useful and trusted for gluten free. 2
In addition to providing the most comprehensive certification program, the GFCO logo is sought after by both companies and consumers.
• first gluten-free certification program in the United States
• certifies over 50,000 products – https://gfco.org/certified-directory/certified-products/
• 2500 brands
• found in 47 countries world wide
GFCO and its parent company Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) are known for their care of the gluten-free consumer. From the certification of safe products to the provision of educational resources and local support groups, GFCO and GIG are the trusted voice in the gluten-free community.
When you spot the GFCO certification mark on a product, you can rest assured that your label-reading can stop there. It surpasses allergen statements (i.e. “processed in a facility that may contain wheat”), risky ingredients (like oats), and any what-ifs that come along with your personal gluten-free risk assessments.
Consumer demand drives certification. GFCO believes that it is just a matter of time until more demand the strictness and quality they provide.
Click here for an informative video that will help you understand the difference in standards behind popular certification marks.
2 From Knowledge, Utility and Trustworthiness of Different Gluten-Free Labels in Individuals Who Follow the Gluten-Free Diet. S Nagel, BS, DTR