A food safety program of Gluten Intolerance Group of North America (GIG)
The Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) is the first program established to provide customers and manufacturers confidence in knowing that products labeled with the GFCO certification mark meet a strict set of standards for gluten-free foods.
GFCO was founded in 2005, and now certifies more than 26,000 products from 1,590 brands in 27 countries. As a third-party certification program under the guidance of the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America (GIG), GFCO helps gluten-intolerant customers quickly identify that certified food companies’ products are safe to consume and that these products meet the set standard of 10 ppm or less of gluten.
To be certified, companies must undergo a four-step process. First, a company completes an application for all the products it wants considered for certification. Upon review, a quote is determined for expenses, based on the risk assessment for ingredients, along with a number of other factors. Next, a GFCO Inspector will visit the facility to review the manufacturing processes and procedures in place. Depending on the observations during the inspection, a verified contract is prepared, outlining the standards that must be maintained and a certificate is sent.
GFCO goes beyond just creating awareness of gluten-free products. Upon certification, its staff forms a working relationship with the food companies it inspects by creating customized packages that include marketing assistance and additional scientific and quality control consulting.
Arguably, GFCO’s certification symbol is the most recognized label to those living the gluten-free lifestyle. It is synonymous with safety in the industry and provides the feeling of trust that a cautious consumer is looking to find. This trust, combined with the standards mentioned above, is what makes GFCO the benchmark of the gluten-free community and a leader in food certification worldwide.
Key Market Areas
- Baking companies
- Ready-made meals
- Snack foods
- Personal care
GFCO provides science-based standards for food companies that produce gluten-free products. Its main focus is on the certification of products for human consumption, including companies that manufacture consumer food items or industrial ingredients, or are involved in private labeling, food service or any other aspect of food production and distribution. Some of GFCO’s primary responsibilities include:
1. Monitor food companies’ gluten-free products to ensure they are safe for gluten-intolerant consumers.
2. Recognize and support food manufacturers that provide safe, gluten-free products.
3. Educate and train the food industry on gluten-free related issues.
Generation GF was created to build confidence in all persons who need, or choose, to live a gluten-free lifestyle. We want to develop our kids, teens and young adults into our future gluten-free leaders and help Generation GF members to become individuals who can take action and speak up for the support of their lifestyle. Generation GF will provide an environment, at group meetings, camp opportunities and advocacy events, for confidence to grow and for voices to be cultivated. We will bring gluten-free education to our school systems; providing kitchens and cafeterias the knowledge that they need to understand, respect, and embrace our members’ lifestyles. We will be with our young adult members as they take their next steps in life and make sure that at colleges and universities, they have the options that they need to strive and to succeed. We feel that the knowledge that we can provide is the greatest asset for a person of any age to have to speak out for their own well-being and we want Generation GF to be with them every step of the way, from age eight to age 80, as they develop that voice.
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, July 2015