Big changes are underway with the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG). They are in the process of rebranding their gluten-free certification seal that appears on product packaging. A move that comes largely to support its increasing global expansion. But also to help consumers more easily identify gluten-free products around the world.
The Gluten-Free Certification Organization
Establishing in 2005, the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) certifies that products advertising as gluten-free, are truly gluten-free. In short, they do this through audits, random product testing, and process surveillance. GFCO works with hundreds of manufacturers. And to date, they have verified over 60,000 products. Above all, the organization holds companies and products accountable to rigorous standards.
A Higher Standard
Whether for medical needs or a health and wellness choice, over 3 million people in the United States eat gluten-free. And we expect that number to grow 8-10% over the next 5 years. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and many other countries, deem foods with up to 20 ppm (parts per million) acceptable for gluten-intolerant consumers. However, the GFCO strives to do better with more stringent standards. When testing foods, they are looking for 10 ppm or less for a product to receive their mark.
We are happy to cater to those eating a gluten-free diet here at Martindale’s. With a wide variety of products bearing the GFCO seal already on our shelves, we are regularly sourcing more GF-friendly products to offer more variety.
Identifying Certified Gluten-free Products
Previously mentioned, the change in marking comes in response to GFCO’s expanding presence in international markets. After carefully considering and consulting with international legal experts, a new seal was necessary to comply with international trademark regulations. With the demand for label transparency increasing globally, the new seal aims to protect the value of this certification internationally. As a result, the new design will include identifiable features, such as:
- The words “Certified Gluten-Free”
- Inclusion of the gfco.org website
- Bright, easily-identifiable colors
- Bi-lingual GFCO seals (French-English and Spanish-English)
Including the words “Certified Gluten-Free” leaves no question as to the meaning of the seal on products. Those words also subsequently making it easier to identify gluten-free products for those previously unfamiliar with the seal. Additionally, having the GFCO website shown clearly identifies the owner of the seal. Also a tool in directing consumers to their website, where they can search for certified gluten-free products. The GFCO product finder can be a very useful tool, especially for those new to gluten-intolerance. Eventually, all products will exhibit a new seal. But manufacturers have until 2022 to make the switch.
More Than A Mark
Most importantly, the rebranding and process to validate products are to gain and maintain consumer trust. The COO of GIG, Channon Quinn states, “GFCO’s rebranding highlights GIG’s continuous commitment to the gluten-free community across the globe. To help alleviate shopper confusion about what products are truly GFCO-certified gluten-free. The new GFCO mark is intentionally designed to stand out from other gluten-free symbols to ensure products secure consumer trust. We look forward to the value-add this new mark will give our product manufacturers. They have earned the certification through their strong commitment to producing quality, gluten-free products that are safe.”
In addition to maintaining consumer trust, the gluten-free seal both past and present represents even more. In a quote from GIG CEO, Cynthia Kupper, she explains how they use any extra funds from the program. “Excess revenue from the certification program helps fund many of GIG’s important community programs. Including summer camps and a mentorship program for children, a teen summit, education initiatives for schools, and over 90 local support groups.”