Wednesday, June 22, 2011

New Gluten Free Labels

QAI and NFCA unveil new certified gluten free label
Elisa Bosley, Delicious Living
Jun. 16, 2011 6:13pm

Currently, gluten-related claims on foods and other products vary so dramatically it's no wonder shoppers (and retailers) are confused.

A new certified gluten free seal and protocol, the result of a partnership between QAI and the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, provides another step toward consumer confidence in gluten-free foods and products.

While the FDA and USDA continue to drag their heels on defining gluten-free—yet continue to permit unregulated gluten-free labeling—organic certifier Quality Assurance International (QAI) and the nonprofit National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) have stepped into the gap. This week, the QAI and NFCA partnership unveiled its new "certified gluten free" seal.

Currently, gluten-related label claims on foods and other products range from “no gluten ingredients used” to “free of gluten”, “without gluten,” “no gluten,” “made in a gluten-free facility,” and more. No wonder consumers (and manufacturers) are confused—but that hasn’t stopped gluten-free sales from reaching $3.2 billion, with no slowdown in sight, according to Nutrition Business Journal.

In 2008, the FDA issued a proposed gluten-free regulation but hasn’t finalized it. (Note to our elected officials: Canada just beefed up their labeling regulations.) Meanwhile, independent agencies like the Gluten Intolerance Group and the Celiac Sprue Association worked hard and fast to put label certifications in place.

Now, the new QAI and NFCA seal combines the hefty reputations of organic certifier QAI with the grassroots strength of NFCA. “We knew that NFCA was such a steward when it comes to consumer advocacy,” says Jaclyn Bowen, QAI general manager. “NFCA has been around a long time, working with consumers on education, outreach, and advocacy. Gluten free was one of those things QAI was thinking about, so it seemed like a great combination of expertise—their experience with gluten free and ours with testing, inspection, and certification.”

-Delicious Living e-news June 22, 2011