As you may have read in blog posts and updates on support group websites recently, the decision to define the term ‘gluten-free’ for labeling is potentially delayed. Check out the American Celiac Disease Alliance for more information on this. For now, gluten-free is still not an agree upon labeling term. While celiacs wait for the decision to be passed down by the FDA, the Gluten Intolerance Group’s Gluten-Free Certification Organization is working to make shopping a bit easier for the gluten-free consumer. If you’ve seen the GFCO’s mark on products, here’s some information about their certification process that might be useful as you continue to eat gluten-free while awaiting the FDA’s ruling.
GFCO’s certification involves inspections on-site, product tests, and ingredient reviews. The inspections and reviews are done by representatives from Orthodox Union (OU), a kosher certification company. (The GFCO was made in cooperation with the Food Services Inc, which is an auxiliary of OU.) Products certified as gluten-free by the GFCO contain less than 10-ppm gluten and like proteins found in rye and barley; right now, there isn’t a method for measuring to zero.
The GFCO is not planning to change their standards after the FDA’s conclusion on ‘gluten-free,’ saying they will meet or go beyond the decision. “As a global program, the GFCO uses the highest standards for gluten-free ingredients and a safe processing environment based on a continual review of the current scientific and testing methodologies, existing global standards such as Codex, WHO, and Canada, balanced by reasonable application by the manufacturer,” the GFCO explains on their website.
While I mentioned in the past that Stonyfield Farm makes some products that are certified as gluten-free by the GFCO, some other companies that have certified items are Country Life and Gluten Free Creations. All the information here was found on the GFCO’s website and if you’d like more info on the GFCO’s certification, it can be found there as well. So don’t get too discouraged while the FDA continues to mull over their gluten-free labeling decision. The GFCO is picking up the slack.