Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO)
31214 124th Ave. SE, Auburn, WA 98092, www.gfco.org
Established in 2005, the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) is the oldest and largest third-party certifier of gluten-free products in North America. Guided by the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America (GIG), GFCO is represented in over 20 countries, including Italy, Thailand and China, certifying more than 17,000 products for 550 companies around the world. 2013 SPINS data show GFCO certifies 17.6% of gluten-free products on the U.S. market. Its experience and expertise gives customers and companies confidence in the safety of products that bear the GFCO gluten-free logo, which has shown to increase the product’s sales.
Companies seeking certification for their product undergo a rigorous four-step process, performed by inspectors with at least three years of experience in the industry. Many inspectors have previously worked for Organic, Kosher or non-GMO inspection organizations. Each product up for review is tested for gluten, which must be at 10 parts per million (PPM) or less; FDA’s regulations call for 19 PPM or less gluten. GFCO’s stricter requirements are to ensure the legitimacy and safety of their certified products.
In addition to certifying gluten-free products, GFCO also maintains relationships with its certified companies to ensure continued adherence to its guidelines and to assist in the marketing of their products to encourage the growth of the category. GFCO’s relationship with GIG allows for cross-promotion at tradeshows and through GIG publications, as well as food service and consumer recommendations.
GFCO works with a wide variety of businesses, including:
• Baking companies
• Ready-made meals
• Snack foods
• Personal care
GFCO’s goal is to understand the concerns of the producers while continuing to put customers’ needs first. Through honesty and transparency, the group hopes to provide feedback to promote efficient, effective and safe production of gluten-free products.
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, December 2013