What Is the

Z-CODE 

Food Safety System?

What Are the Steps in

ZEGO’s Food Safety System?

STEP 1: Dedicated Free From Facility

Our manufacturing facility is free of the top 8 allergens and gluten free. We alone use our equipment and it is also free of all grains, sesame, corn, sulfites, lupines, and tapioca.

STEP 2: Carefully Selected Ingredients

We carefully select our organic and non-GMO ingredient suppliers for purity and allergy safety.

STEP 3: Verification by 3rd Party Lab

  • Each batch is tested for allergen and gluten cross contact.

  • Each product line is periodically tested for glyphosate residue.

STEP 4: Transparency by Posting Test Results

We post the results of each product’s testing on our website and link it to the QR code on each package. On our website, just scroll down this page and click on the product you are interested in to access the relevant results.

3rd Party Lab Test Results

Seed+Fruit Bars

Organic Seed+Fruit Bars

Fudgy Chocolate
Apple Cinnamon
Lemon Ginger
Sunflower Date
Fruit + Chia Bars

Fruit + Chia Bars

How Does This Relate to Blockchain?

If you are a long-time customer, you know that in addition to producing our products in a top eight allergen and gluten-free facility, we also send out each batch for independent lab testing for peanut, soy, dairy, and gluten. We connect that data to the product in your hand through the QR code on the package. Building on that, we are now periodically testing for glyphosate and posting the results as well. With one scan, you can see all five test results.

You may have heard of blockchain in regard to Bitcoin and crypto currency. Our patent-pending Z-CODE system is a tailored blockchain, adapted to be easy and quick to execute for the company and more relevant to most people on a daily basis. Its a system for collecting and distributing food safety data that reliably provides information about a packaged food batch to the consumer. For the company, the system provides reliable data on and accountability for the purity of the ingredients it buys and its factory’s manufacturing process. [See our full blog here].

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There is technology involved in the testing and communication system but no encryption as with Bitcoin. The time and expense of encryption would make it untenable to implement this system in the short term and possibly at all. What is revolutionary about ZEGO’s Z-CODE system is that it can be replicated quickly by any company that cares enough about its consumers, its products, and its reputation to do it. And, if more companies adopt the Z-CODE system, we will have a network of data that, together, could serve as a measurement of crop health across the food chain and serve as a roadmap for improving it. It is in the sharing of this data among companies where the encryption would be most helpful because a company may not be willing to publicly share undesirable test results unless it is assured it cannot be linked to the data. Otherwise, it will keep the information close to the chest and work out the problem internally. But it is the collection and analysis of the aggregate data that would be most helpful to all of us, answering questions like which supply chains for certain crops have more glyphosate than others? Is a particular supplier selling ingredients that, known or unknown to them, is contaminated with ground peanuts? Which suppliers are passing off ingredients fraudulently labeled non GMO and organic? Another beauty of our Z-CODE system is the benefits for consumers and companies start immediately for verifying our suppliers’ organic and non-GMO certifications, which are particularly vulnerable to fraud. In our first round of tests, we found high levels of glyphosate in one organic spice we wanted to use. We reported the test to the supplier so they could fix the problem, and then switched to another brand whose product tested clean. Imagine how quickly we could clean our supply chain if 10,000 companies had a similar story to tell? So while the U.S. courts, politicians and scientists debate the safety of glyphosate and business executives and technology experts grapple with encryption and whether it can be built into the food chain affordably, we hope other companies act now and start testing and reporting like we do. We have reason to be optimistic! Scott Elaine Wright-Case, co-founder of a successful food venture capital fund called VMG, applauded ZEGO’s action as, “a bold move that brings blockchain verification to packaged food. This is exactly the type of innovative transparency consumers and investors have been clamoring for in the clean food movement.”

Why Test for

Glyphosate?

Glyphosate was invented by Monsanto (now owned by Bayer) and is the leading chemical herbicide used in the farming industry.

* Some studies show a correlation between glyphosate exposure and certain cancers, endocrine disruption and celiac-type symptoms.

* Some countries ban or restrict the use of glyphosate altogether. The U.S. EPA has set a safety threshold for glyphosate exposure that is 127X higher than the threshold the California EPA is considering.

* There are approximately 4000 court cases pending against Monsanto (now owned by Bayer) where the plaintiff claims exposure to the chemical harmed their health. 

Companies and farms are not required to measure and report how much glyphosate residue is on their food, like ZEGO does. We encourage you to email companies you buy from and ask them to start testing and reporting for glyphosate and allergens. Still, if you want to minimize your exposure, there are actions you can take.

* Choose organic when you can.

* Avoid GMO crops are more likely to have Roundup/glyphosate used on them, like conventional (not organic) soy, wheat and corn.

* For produce, keep the “dirty dozen” list, which covers many chemicals including glyphosate, on your phone and use it.

* Glyphosate is the focus of thousands of lawsuits asserting exposure to the chemical is toxic. On August 10, 2018, a San Francisco jury found Monsanto liable for the plaintiffs’ non-Hodgskins lymphoma, which he asserted was caused by exposure to glyphosate in Monsanto’s products. Internal emails revealed during the trail show research not attributed to the company asserting glyphosate’s safety that was edited or ghost-written by Monsanto.

* The World Health Organization recently issued a defense of what it asserts is industry-backed criticism of its declaration of glyphosate being a “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

* After the USDA called off plans to test for the chemical, emails recently uncovered through a FOIA request show the FDA has internal data on glyphosate in foods and the data may be published later this year or early 2019. Reportedly, they had trouble finding wheat, oat and corn-based products that did not contain the chemical.

* The U.S. EPA holds that the chemical is safe if exposure is under 1.1mg daily. That threshold is 127 times higher than the limit proposed by the California EPA.

* Glyphosate has been banned or restricted from use in a number of countries and cities. The middle-to-eastern U.S. has highest glyphosate use.

* Glyphosate has been measured in many samples of rainwater and air in numerous studies.

* Studies suggest glyphosate is correlated with a number of health problems from endocrine disruption to shorter pregnancies and lower birth weight of infants to celiac-type symptoms in fish.

Why Is Allergy and Gluten Batch Testing and Reporting Important to our Food Allergy Safety System?

The Center for Disease Control reports that hospitalizations for food allergy reactions increased 265% in its most recent study.

Every year people are rushed to the hospital with allergic reactions to food, like peanuts or dairy. Sometimes, they don’t even know they have a food allergy or had no idea their allergy could be life-threatening. Not all these reactions are due to packaged foods, but the companies making packaged foods need to do their part to protect their customers better and decrease this hospitalization rate.

Gluten sensitive people and celiacs are also exposed to unnecessary levels of gluten that can lead to severe symptoms that can last for many days after exposure. The FDA allows companies to label their products “gluten free” if they have up to 20PPM of known gluten cross contact. For some, this threshold is too high and so they cannot rely on products labelled gluten free to be safe for them to eat. Also, companies are only required to periodically check, so cross contact is often not discovered until many consumers contact the company with complaints about a particular product.

We think the standard for food safety has to change to reflect the reality that cross contamination can happen at any time, anywhere from field to factory, and it has to take advantage of testing capability and packaging technology. Currently, most companies rely on voluntarily spot testing ingredients every few months or relying on the legal proxy of having a dedicated facility to measure allergy safety. The problem with this proxy is that most contamination comes in mixed into other allergy friendly ingredients you purchase. For example, a bag of pumpkin seeds might have wheat grains scattered in it.

We aim to lead a sea-change in our industry by setting this new gold standard in allergen and gluten safety: we test every batch of our products for cross contact, and make the results available to the consumer in real time by linking the results to the QR Code (“Z-Code”) on every ZEGO package. But we don’t stop there, we encourage consumers to ask other companies to use this new safety gold standard. Working together, we can decrease the number of food allergy reactions to packaged food. And, as we work with our suppliers to trace down cross contact, we will in turn do our part to clean the entire food chain.

How do I scan the Z-Code on the back of my bar? 

In order to scan the QR code on the back of each bar, you will need to download a QR Code Reader on your phone.  There are many free options available in your app store – here are a few we like:

For iPhones:

  1. QR Capture
  2. QR Journal

For Android:

  1. QR Code Reader
  2. Free QR Scanner

What do ZEGO snack bars taste like?

Our nutrition bars have a natural, organic flavor and are deliberately not sweet compared to most other bars with less sweetener means more protein and healthy fats for your calories.

Join the Z-Club!