SAN DIEGO–Quality Assurance International (QAI) and National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) joined to offer a gluten-free certification to help fill the gap between unsubstantiated claims and consumer demand for scientifically proven gluten-free products. The certification program requires sensitive testing procedures, a stringent auditing and an independent application review process.
The program uses feedback from consumers, manufacturers and retailers and includes product review, onsite inspection, testing to ensure compliance to 10 parts per million (ppm) or less and ongoing compliance including random product testing. QAI said the protocols ensure 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," 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."
The QAI and NFCA new “Certified Gluten-Free" consumer label were officially unveiled to the grocery industry this past weekend at the KeHE Show in Chicago.
QAI offers manufacturers and retailers more than one certification by coupling its gluten-free certification with other QAI certification programs (organic, eco-social and non-GMO) as well as with food safety programs through QAI’s parent company, NSF International.
QAI has partnered with other organizations to offer different certifications. For instance, earlier this year, it joined with IBD to provide an EcoSocial and organic auditing program.