CASTLE ROCK, Colo. — Where Food Comes From, Inc. (WFCF) (OTCQB: WFCF), the most trusted resource for independent, third-party verification of food production practices in North America, today announced the launch of the Gluten Free by WFCF standard. The new branding replaces the Gluten-Free standard formerly administered by the Company’s ICS business unit.
“Based on anticipated higher demand for gluten-free verifications following the alarming results of a recent study showing a high percentage of gluten-free labeled restaurant food actually contained gluten, we decided to bring the standard under the Where Food Comes From umbrella, where it should enjoy a higher profile among consumers and potential customers in the food supply chain,” said John Saunders, Chairman and CEO of Where Food Comes From, Inc. “Our updated standard includes more stringent requirements that are necessary to reassure CPG makers as well as restaurants and their customers that ingredients in grain-based products and menu items have been thoroughly vetted. Going forward, audits related to the newly launched Gluten Free by WFCF standard will be conducted by our IMI Global and ICS business units.”
The gluten-free study, published recently in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, showed 32% of gluten-free labeled food in restaurants contained gluten. According to the study, the worst offenders were pizza and pasta, with gluten discovered in 53% of pizza samples and 51% of the pasta tested. The detection rates were higher on dinner menus (34%) compared to breakfast menus (27%).
A gluten-free diet is the cornerstone of therapy for celiac disease, which is an inherited autoimmune disorder triggered by consumption of gluten, a protein found in various grains. Symptoms of the disease, which affects the small intestine, include bloating, constipation, chronic fatigue and abdominal pain. Approximately 1% of the U.S. population suffers from celiac disease, but 83% of those sufferers are not diagnosed.
The U.S. gluten-free food products market is estimated at $2.7 billion annually. With increasing occurrences of celiac disease and growing awareness that it is preventable, that market is expected to double by 2025.
About Where Food Comes From, Inc.
Where Food Comes From, Inc. is America’s trusted resource for third party verification of food production practices. Through proprietary technology and patented business processes, the Company supports more than 15,000 farmers, ranchers, vineyards, wineries, processors, retailers, distributors, trade associations, consumer brands and restaurants with a wide variety of value-added services. Through its IMI Global, International Certification Services, Validus Verification Services, SureHarvest, A Bee Organic and Sterling Solutions units, Where Food Comes From solutions are used to verify food claims, optimize production practices and enable food supply chains with analytics and data driven insights. In addition, the Company’s Where Food Comes From® retail and restaurant labeling program uses web-based customer education tools to connect consumers to the sources of the food they purchase, increasing meaningful consumer engagement for our clients.
This news release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, based on current expectations, estimates and projections that are subject to risk. Forward-looking statements are inherently uncertain, and actual events could differ materially from the Company’s predictions. Important factors that could cause actual events to vary from predictions include those discussed in our SEC filings. Specifically, statements in this news release about industry leadership and demand for, and impact and efficacy of, the Company’s products and services on the marketplace are forward-looking statements that are subject to a variety of factors, including availability of capital, personnel and other resources; competition; governmental regulation of the agricultural industry; the market for beef and other commodities; and other factors. Readers should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. The Company assumes no obligation to update forward-looking statements to reflect new information or developments. For a more extensive discussion of the Company’s business, please refer to the Company’s SEC filings at www.sec.gov.