I do not want to "overkill" on this issue, but the following press release has been issued reporting GFCO certification of Snyder's Pretzels. I think this is great news and know that it was due to the overwhelming response of this wonderful community.
In response to the emails wondering whether or not I will eat the pretzels? Yes, once they are certified by GFCO.
A word of caution regarding other products made by Snyder's of Hanover. I am still concerned about Hanover's website page which lists food items they manufacture which are "made without any gluten ingredients." When I was speaking with them on the phone, they mentioned that while at least one of these items did not contain gluten ingredients, it did not meet the proposed standard of 20 ppm due to cross-contamination during the manufacturing process. I have sent an email to Snyder's noting that having these items listed on a website page specifically designated towards individuals looking for gluten free ingredients comes close to crossing the line of "misleading and untruthful" as set forth in the proposed FDA regulations for "gluten free" food labeling.
I have been informed by them that they are "reworking the website to further clarify the different categories and include explanations and disclaimers for these categories." In the meantime, however, anyone who is on a strict gluten free diet should not eat the items listed on the Snyder's website as made without gluten ingredients gluten.
Now to the press release:
GFCO is Proud to Certify Snyder’s of Hanover’s Gluten-Free Pretzels
Snyder’s of Hanover is the first USA, family-owned business to invest a great deal of time and money into making pretzels safe for gluten-free consumers. Snyder’s understands how important a strict gluten-free diet is to the health of persons with gluten sensitivities, and, because of that, sought the industry’s self-identified Best Practices in manufacturing gluten-free products – the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) standards.
Auburn, WA April 9, 2010 -- To meet GFCO standards, Snyder’s has carefully laid out a plan for production and quality control management that is monitored by third-party auditors for GFCO. Auditors inspect the manufacturing facility on a regular basis and are inspecting all aspects of the production of the finished products being certified gluten-free. This includes all processes and procedures for purchasing ingredients, storage and handling, production, cleaning and even looking into airborne dust contamination. As part of the GFCO application process, risk assessment is determined for ingredients and manufacturing. This determines 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. They have been trained by GFCO to use their skills to also audit for gluten. GFCO auditors may often do “spot gluten testing” as part of their audits. 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 products test more than 5 ppm gluten in laboratory testing. GFCO currently provides audits in 10 countries.
It can often take a company several months to work through the certification process. GFCO contractual requirements are stringent. It is our experience that companies certify gluten-free with GFCO because they recognize that GFCO sets the strictest standards and they see the value of third-party validation of their commitment to the product’s consumer market. It is not uncommon to find GFCO products also carry other third-party certifications, such as organic and kosher.
“There is consumer confidence and value in external certification, and GFCO sets the strictest standards for gluten-free”, states Claude O’Connor, vice president of marketing for Snyder’s of Hanover.
GFCO is pleased to add Snyder of Hanover to the family of GFCO products. GFCO certifies over 4000 products in all categories of food and supplements.
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.