Q: Can you tell me about the Certified Gluten Free logo with a GF inside a circle? What company is in charge of the certification?
A: The Certified Gluten Free logo is given to products by the Gluten Free Certification Organization (GFCO) an industry program of the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) which is a 501c3 nonprofit that helps people with celiac and other gluten related disorders.
According to the GFCO website
“GFCO requires that all finished products using the GFCO Logo contain 10ppm or less of gluten. All ingredients utilized in GFCO certified products are required to go through a stringent review process of approval. All ingredients must contain 10ppm or less of gluten. Barley-based ingredients are not allowed in GFCO certified products” (1) “ GFCO standard is stricter than Codex, USA, Canada, the EU and many other country standards for labeling products gluten-free.” (2)
Q: Is there standard different from others when using this term?
A: YES the standard used for this symbol is higher!
The GFCO symbol is only given to products that test lower than 10 ppm and products that do not use barley based ingredients.
In the US, any product can be labelled gluten free if it contains less than 20 ppm or less of gluten. Unfortunately, a few companies (like Hain which makes Rice Dream!) use barley (which contains gluten) as an ingredient and then label the product gluten free because it tests lower than the 20 ppm. Unfortunately, some people with celiac and non-celiac gluten intolerance are not able to tolerate these trace amounts of gluten–even though by law they are allowed. Others who are less sensitive are fine with products which have traces of gluten.
I am guessing that the GIG group, which is a non-profit created by people with celiac and gluten intolerance, decided to use the stricter standard of 10 ppm because they want a product that is safe for the GIG members who are sensitive to trace amounts. I know we have been “glutened” by trace amounts of gluten in products with other symbols—but that the products that use the Certified Gluten Free Logo from GFCO have been fine for us.
Many of the biggest gluten-free brands like Udi’s, Enjoy Life, and Van’s waffles as well as big companies with naturally gluten free products like Dannon, Murray’s Chicken and Purdue use the GFCO to let consumers know their products are gluten free. The GFCO website has a list of all the companies and products in their GFCO Buyer and Distributor Guide.
The GFCO symbol signifies to the consumer that the manufacturer is creating a product that is truly gluten free and not just a marketing ploy–and that it has been tested to be under 10 ppm. It’s better than the other symbols and trusted by the gluten free community.