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Gluten-free Certification Organization Withdraws Certification from Best Express Foods

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Auburn, WA, May 31, 2024 – 05/31/2024 (Auburn, WA) – The Gluten Intolerance Group’s Gluten-free Certification Organization (GFCO) has made the decision to withdraw certification from Best Express Foods, Inc., the umbrella company to Universal Bakery (BEF/Universal Baking), and the producer of “Aussie Bites” and other products. This decision comes after a thorough investigation in the U.S. and Canada of BEF/Universal Baking’s “Aussie Bites” following a safety alert that was issued on May 15, 2024, revealing positive test results for gluten in excess of the FDA threshold.

“GFCO goes through an in-depth investigation process that includes consumer interviews, 3rd party testing, and requests for historical lot and ingredient testing every time that we receive a consumer complaint about a product,” says Channon Quinn, COO of the Gluten Intolerance Group. “Remedy of these situations requires meeting standards, supplying requested information, as well as fulfillment of contractual obligations surrounding product safety to remove non-compliant products from the marketplace. In this instance, BEF/Universal Baking failed to complete GFCO’s requirements to remedy, making the continuation of a certification relationship with the aforementioned company too high of a risk for both GFCO and the gluten-free public; therefore, we have withdrawn the certification of BEF/Universal Baking.”

The product of concern, Aussie Bites, has been certified by GFCO since October 2022 and initially met the GFCO’s standards for gluten-free certification. Aussie Bites, sold within the U.S. and Canada, have been identified to contain an unsafe level of gluten for gluten-free consumers.

GFCO has withdrawn certification of the following brands and products produced by Best Express Foods:

Universal Bakery:
Organic Aussie Bites
Organic Breakfast Energy Bars
Organic Paleo Bars
Organic Sunrise Energy Bars
SureLife Foods:
Paleo Bars
Las Fortunitas:
Corn Chips
Los Amigos:
Corn Chips

GFCO’s requirements for gluten-free certification are designed to ensure that each product meets the highest safety standards. This comprehensive evaluation includes rigorous testing requirements, ingredient verification, and ongoing audits to maintain compliance. GFCO exists to protect the public. Companies who do not maintain the requirements of the certification or otherwise fail to adhere to their contractual obligations to GFCO are subject to having their certification revoked.

“The protection of the gluten-free community is our top priority, therefore we are taking decisive action to ensure gluten-free consumers’ safety,” stated Cynthia Kelly, CEO of the Gluten Intolerance Group.

Consumers are encouraged to be vigilant and check product labels for the GFCO certification mark and report any questions or concerns about a product’s safety at https://gfco.org/contact/. GFCO will continue to work diligently to protect the gluten-free community and maintain the integrity of its certification process.

For more information and updates regarding this certification rescission, please visit the GFCO website at www.gfco.org