What's New at Wellshire Farms
Wellshire's Stance on Gluten Free
Over the years, Wellshire has been committed to creating products that meet the needs of our customers. In 2001, Wellshire was the first company to be granted USDA Approval for a Gluten Free, fully cooked breaded chicken nugget made with a wheat free batter.
As time went on, the needs of our customers required a reformulation of this product, and Wellshire made no exception to adhere to this change.
We feel that we added a great asset to the Wellshire Family, teaming up with a new batter supplier and vendor partner to make an even better Gluten Free Dinosaur Shaped Chicken Nugget.
Wellshire’s Definition of Gluten Free
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the federal health department that regulates our company, does not have a definition of “gluten free” other than to require that the product does not contain wheat, barley or rye grains as an ingredient. Our gluten free products do not contain wheat, barley or rye in them, hence they meet the USDA requirement for gluten free. Nevertheless, the World Health Organization recently restated their definition of gluten free to mean that the amount of trace gluten that could be found in a food item must be reduced from 200 PPM (parts per million) to 20 PPM in the total weight of the product. In conjunction with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition of gluten free, Wellshire has also tried to meet that new standard in our new gluten free products. When we were first following the WHO standard our products tested at 200 PPM or less. However, now our standard for our new products to be defined as gluten free means our products must test at under 20 PPM in the total weight of the item, the same new standard now used by the WHO. Research has shown that 20 PPM and even 200 PPM in the total weight of the product is a safe level for most cases. The USDA will not allow us to indicate on our labels the test results of the amount of trace gluten in our product, we can only list our ingredients, which show that we do not use wheat, barley or rye in any of our gluten free products. Please be advised that the last approved standard still remains at under 200PPM, as the industry is proactively working towards under 20PPM.
In February 2010, Wellshire Kid’s and Garrett County Dinosaur Shaped Chicken Bites were granted certification with the Gluten Free Certification Organization (GFCO). While we are certified with this organization, this does not mean that there is a gluten level of zero in our product, it means that they test under 10PPM. We are not displaying it on our labels for respect of those that feel that Gluten Free should be zero. We are audited annually at the plant level to ensure that this product is below 10PPM.
The European Union (EU) has come up with a definition of gluten free that will go into effect January 1, 2012. This states the following: The labeling, advertising and presentation of the products may bear the term ‘gluten-free’ if the gluten content does not exceed 20 mg/kg in the food as sold to the final consumer. Foodstuffs for people intolerant to gluten, consisting of or containing one or more ingredients which substitute wheat, rye, barley, oats or their crossbred varieties shall not contain a level of gluten exceeding 20 mg/kg in the food as sold to the final consumer. The labeling, presentation and advertising of those products shall bear the term ‘gluten-free’.
NOTE: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Union (EU) do not regulate our company. Even so, there is current discussion that the FDA is also considering adopting the standard set by the World Health Organization and European Union of no more than 20 PPM in a product for it to be listed as gluten free.
Please review the Gluten Free section of our website for more information on our stance of Gluten Free.
Allergen Control Procedures
Our batter, which does not contain wheat, barley, or rye, is made in a facility with a designated Gluten Free room with a strict allergen control policy. Samples of batter are tested before it leaves this facility to go into production of the final product. A letter of guarantee is submitted that only batter testing under 20PPM will leave the facility.
Once the batter arrives at the plant for production, it is tested once again before it is put on the line. All machinery and surfaces are sanitized and tested for allergens before production. The product is also tested during production and again after the product is complete. If at any time the gluten level exceeds 20 PPM, the entire run of product will be discarded.
All Wellshire Farms products are produced at the beginning of a shift. The machinery is completely washed down before and after production of our products.
Other Wellshire Products
All meat in its natural state is gluten free. Wellshire does not hide gluten or any contaminants known to contain gluten such as wheat, barley, or rye in our spices or natural flavorings. Wellshire products list all known allergens on the product label.
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