SAN DIEGO – Organic certifier Quality Assurance International and the non-profit National Foundation for Celiac Awareness have introduced a gluten-free certification program and a “Certified Gluten-Free” consumer label.

The program uses feedback from consumers, manufacturers and retailers and includes product reviews, on-site inspections, testing to ensure compliance to 10 parts per million (ppm) or less, and ongoing compliance, including random product testing. The nature of the certification protocols ensures prevention of contamination and co-mingling, according to QAI.

“The profound growth in the marketplace has necessitated a stronger emphasis on food safety for the 17 million families looking for gluten-free foods,” said Alice Best, founder and president of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, Ambler, Pa. “NCFA’s extensive surveying confirms that consumers are seeking a gluten-free certification program that includes ongoing testing and transparency with strict standards that are verified through inspections.”

Jaclyn Bowen, general manager of QAI, San Diego, said, “QAI’s 20-year focus in organic certification has made us experts in the prevention of contamination and co-mingling of ingredients, two skills sets that are critical in verifying and assuring gluten-free status. Nationally, food allergies and the diagnosis of celiac disease are on the rise, and we want to help eliminate confusion for consumers by providing them with a label they can trust based on sound science.”