from the Celiac list serv.......
The Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) announces today [yesterday] that, Snyder's of Hanover's Gluten Free Pretzel Sticks have met GFCO's stringent qualifications and earned certified gluten-free status.
Auburn, WA, April 7, 2010: "Meeting what are widely regarded as the gluten-free industry's Best Practices illustrates that Snyder's understands the importance that safe, gluten-free foods play in the diets of celiacs, the gluten intolerant, and others avoiding gluten in their diets," says
Channon Quinn, Director of Industry Programs, and GFCO.
GFCO certification is respected as the premier gluten-free certification for all consumer goods. Snyder's has been in discussion with GFCO since September of 2009. After weighing the pros, cons, and costs against safely meeting market demand, Snyder's has completed the certification process.
"Snyder's is a huge producer of other, gluten-containing snack foods,"continues Quinn, "which proposes complications new, gluten-free manufacturers with dedicated facilities don't have to consider - primarily contamination from lines running wheat flour-based products." Nevertheless, Quinn says these factors can be overcome, as proven by other manufacturers
of GFCO's more than 4,000 certified products.
"As part of the certification process, Snyder's has successfully addressed these considerations," says Quinn. "Our process mandates a carefully laid out plan and lists of protocols related to production, quality control, and packaging; all areas of Snyder's pretzel production process."
GFCO utilizes third-party auditors that inspect manufacturing facilities on a regular basis, monitoring all production aspects of the GFCO certified product.
"Some certification programs don't actually do onsite inspections, if you can believe that," comments Cynthia Kupper, Executive Director of the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America, under which the GFCO program is run. "We not only conduct random and regular site visits, but we delve into everything from ingredient sourcing to storage and handling, production, cleaning and even airborne flour dust that can contaminate an otherwise gluten-free product. It's extensive, as it should be because it's our health we're talking about," she finishes.
As part of the GFCO application process, risk is determined for ingredients and manufacturing, which helps determine the amount of raw materials, equipment and finished product the company is required to test onsite. It also determines the number of annual audits a company will have.
GFCO auditors are trained with years of experience working in plant inspections for kosher, organic and HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points). GFCO trains these auditors to also appraise gluten. GFCO auditors may often do "spot gluten testing" as part of their inspections. As well, GFCO pulls products randomly from the point of sale to send to labs for detailed gluten testing without the company's knowledge. GFCO has established a standard for certification at less than 10 ppm gluten, twice as strict as that proposed by the FDA and accepted by Codex and the World Health Organization. Rarely do GFCO-certified products test more than 5 ppm gluten in laboratory testing.
It can often take a company several months to work through the certification process. GFCO contractual requirements are stringent. In the end, it is our experience that companies certify gluten-free with GFCO because they recognize that we set the strictest requirements and they see the value third-party validation provides to their commitment to the gluten-free consumer market. Many GFCO-certified products also carry other third-party certifications, such as organic and kosher.
"Consumer confidence increases with external certifications, and GFCO sets the most rigorous standards for gluten-free," states Quinn.
The Gluten Free Certification Organization is a program of the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America. GFCO currently provides audits in 10 countries. The Certified Gluten-Free logo is a registered trademark of GFCO and a trusted, easy to find symbol that consumers rely on to know the foods they choose are truly gluten-free.
The global leader in pretzels and the nation's second largest snack food company, Snyder's of Hanover was founded in 1909 and is a privately held company that employs over 2,250 associates and operates nearly 1,800 distribution routes nationwide.
Snyder's is headquartered in Hanover, PA, also the location of its flagship snack food manufacturing and distribution center where products are produced and distributed to the eastern half of North America, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Europe. The Goodyear, Arizona plant produces products for the Western half of the United States and Pacific Rim countries. The Jeffersonville, Indiana plant produces and distributes Krunchers! TM kettle potato chips, JaysTM potato chips, and GrandeTM tortilla chip products primarily for the Midwest, Central, and Eastern United States.