Surprising Benefits of CERTIFIED GLUTEN FREE
QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY INDUSTRY EXPERT
- Why is CERTIFIED gluten free so important?
- Gluten found in the most unexpected places
- Which certifier is the most trusted?
Undoubtedly, you or someone you know is following a Gluten Free lifestyle. That being said, there are an estimated 2 million people in the United States suffer from Celiac Disease* and for those folks, it is imperative they can consume GF foods with confidence. For this reason, we at Health Bear are taking the precautionary steps to certify our product Gluten Free. With this massive need comes a massive effort. We hired a consultant to help us through the process and learned a lot along the way.
Highland Naturals Consulting, a firm dedicated to guiding companies like Health Bear, has taken on the role of navigating through the painstaking process of certifying Health Bear as Gluten Free. They have uncovered some little-known facts of the GF world you will find interesting:
Q: Why should companies certify GF?
- A: Companies get a product certified GF because it creates a trust level with the customer. It is easy to claim gluten free even if you have done testing and it’s under 20ppm. It is much harder to go through the certification process, have the procedures, testing in place to prevent gluten cross – contamination concerns. It also takes the guesswork out of the product for people that are shopping for GF products. They know when its certified, the product has been tested and made in a way to avoid gluten.
Q: Are you seeing any trends in the GF space you find interesting?
- The gluten free market is growing. It is not just people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance looking for gluten free products. I have seen articles that say as much as 30% of Americans are looking for gluten free options because they consider it a healthier way to live.
Q: Oats are gluten free, so why go through the trouble?
- Oats themselves are not a gluten concern, however because oats are stored in some of the same grain bins as wheat, rye, barley, the oats can become tainted with gluten from cross – contamination.
Q: What are some unexpected ingredients out there that can be surprisingly tainted with gluten?
- A: There are definitely some products that you may not think of as having a gluten concern: Play dough can be made with wheat flour and pose a serious gluten concern.
Q: When a company goes through the certification process- what are the maximum parts per million of the gluten that is acceptable?
- A: The FDA says that you can claim your product is gluten free if you test and the finished product tests under 20 ppm. If you get it certified with GFCO for example the threshold is under 10ppm.
How many companies are out there that certify GF and are some of the logos better than others?
- There are a handful, like NSF offers it along with other certifications. However, their requirement is only 20ppm. There are other companies that offer gluten free certification as well as other programs. I only know of 2 GF agencies that require under the 20 ppm. GFCO, and Gluten Free Food Program. GFCO requires less than 10 ppm, GFFP is 5 ppm. One of the most recognized logos in the GF space is GFCO’s logo. They have been a certifying body since 2005 and that is the only certification that they offer.
With so many people living with Celiac Disease, it is so important for companies like Health Bear and others to go through the added effort and expense of being certified to ensure all of our friends can enjoy food without fear.
This fall, Health Bear’s grocery collection will be CERTIFIED gluten free!