ZEGO’s Food Safety System
STEP 1: Dedicated Free From Facility
Our manufacturing facility is free of the top 12 allergens and gluten-free. We alone use our bar equipment, and it is also free of corn. Our new Peace.Love.Crispies cereal is made in a different facility and is free of the top 8 allergens + sesame and gluten-free (<5PPM). Wheat is used on the equipment on different days with a strict cleaning protocol between runs.
STEP 2: Carefully Selected Ingredients
We carefully select our organic and non-GMO ingredient suppliers for purity and allergy safety. We buy from U.S. farmers whenever possible.
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.
• Each product line is periodically tested for over 400 chemicals. Heavy metals are tested for crops with historic heavy metal problems, like chocolate and protein powder.
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. We call this the T-Code. On our website, just scroll down this page to the tab section and click on the product you are interested in to access the relevant results.
ZEGO’s Food Purity Verification Tests
Organic Seed+Fruit Bars
Just Fruit Bars
Fruit + Chia Bars
Double Protein Oats
ZEGO’s New Proposed Food Purity Panel:
A Standard to Inspire a Cleaner Food System
What is California’s Prop 65?
Proposition 65 requires businesses to provide warnings to Californians about significant exposures to chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. These chemicals can be in the products that Californians purchase, in their homes or workplaces, or that are released into the environment. (OEHHA) There are about 1,000 chemicals, including heavy metals, on the list. The Prop 65 limits are typically the strictest standards of purity in the U.S. by a considerable amount
What is VITAL?
The Allergen Bureau’s VITAL (Voluntary Incidental Trace Allergen Labelling) Program is a standardized allergen risk assessment process for the food industry. It is based on scientific clinical data on reaction levels to allergens. The assessment process establishes three “action levels” to guide companies in labeling if cross-contact is found. In our purity panel, we use a large circle in the green square to indicate that we have no measurable amount of that allergen in our product.
Why Do We Test for Glyphosate and 400+ Chemicals?
It’s a fact that most farming in the world uses chemicals of some sort to control for pests and weeds, even organic farms (some chemicals are approved for use in organic food). If you aren’t worried about chemicals and metals in your food, no worries — our food tastes great regardless! But if you do want to minimize your exposure to them, we’ve got you covered. We buy only organic or non-GMO Verified ingredients from trusted suppliers and farms to minimize any pesticides and herbicides in our products. The most commonly used herbicide in the world is the controversial chemical glyphosate, found in Round Up and other herbicides. We think you should be able to decide if you want to eat food with chemical (or heavy metal) residue in it, so we test our products for it.
But we don’t stop there. We typically purchase our ingredients from the same groups of farms each year. Each harvest, we test for over 400 chemicals, pesticides and herbicides that can be found in food. We use this information to pick the cleanest crops we can find for our products. You don’t need to take our word for it. because we link the lab test results to each product for you to see. Just scan the QR Code, which we call our “T-Code” (T for Transparency)on any of our packages or access them through our website.
Because glyphosate and other chemicals are present in measurable amounts in our rain, waterways and air, we cannot guarantee all our products will always have no measurable amount in them. But we promise to always seek the cleanest ingredients possible and to test regularly and publish the results for you to see.
What is Glyphosate?
Glyphosate was invented by Monsanto (now owned by Bayer) and is used in products like Round Up. It is the leading chemical herbicide used in the farming industry.
Is Glyphosate a Health Risk?
Some studies show a correlation between glyphosate exposure and certain cancers, endocrine disruption, and celiac-type symptoms. The International Research Agency on Cancer has identified it as a “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
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/Bayer where the plaintiff claims exposures to the chemical harmed their health.
Can You Avoid Glyphosate?
Companies and farms are not required to measure and report how much glyphosate residue (and other pesticides and metals) 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. And, some nonprofits have issued reports of glyphosate levels they have measured in food. If you want to minimize your exposure, there are actions you can take.
- Choose organic when you can.
- Avoid GMO crops, which 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.
Why Do We Test for Chemicals?
We believe YOU have a right to know what is and isn’t in your food, even if we are not required to list it on the label, and even if the chemical has not been proven to cause health problems yet.
Though we cannot test for every chemical used in agriculture, we are currently testing for the 400 most common agricultural chemicals, pesticides, and herbicides. Testing for these chemicals can serve as a proxy for ensuring the ingredients we purchase truly are organic and/or non-GMO. We believe all companies should be testing periodically for chemicals and try to minimize it in their products.
You might be wondering if most of our products are organic, why do we test for these chemicals. The short answer is that even though something is organic, chemical contamination can occur despite the farm’s best efforts to keep their crops clean. For example, a nearby, conventional farm could have some of their chemical residue runoff into the organic farm. In rare cases, chemicals can be used at processing facilities (after the product has left the farm). Fraud can also be the cause of chemicals found in organic products. And, we want to make sure our products are as clean as possible, which is why we take the extra step to test for these once per harvest.
How to Access the Test Results
We have a third party lab conduct these tests for us once per harvest, then we publish their results via a QR code on the packaging of every product. You can also review all the test results by clicking here.
Our Plan for the Future
Our goal is to increase the transparency that all companies provide to their consumers, and show consumers they can have access to information like this. In doing so, we hope this will help clean up our food supply, reduce the chemicals used, and create a happier & healthier planet.
We know there are more than just these 400 chemicals used in farming including organic chemicals as well. We hope to expand our testing to cover more chemicals including organic chemicals, but we had to start somewhere, and we thought 400 was a pretty good starting point. After all, this is revolutionary – no other company is 3rd party testing and then publishing the results.
We hope you will join us, and ask more companies to start testing their products. Together, we can create a cleaner food supply.
Why Do We Test for Allergens and Gluten?
Every year people are rushed to the hospital with allergic reactions to food, like peanuts or dairy. 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, and sometimes dangerous, levels of gluten 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 also, companies are only required to periodically test, so cross contact is often not discovered until it is too late.
The standard for food safety has to change to reflect the reality that cross contamination can happen at any time and anywhere from field to factory. We and other companies have the 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 (“T-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.
The Center for Disease Control reports that hospitalizations for food allergy reactions increased 265% in its most recent study.
How Does Purity Protocol Produce Cleaner Gluten-Free Oats?
Oat fields often have unintended wheat and other grain growing in them. For most gluten free oats, the farmer relies on optical machine sorting to remove wheat or other gluten-containing grains that may have gotten into the oat harvest. Machine sorting can leave a higher than desirable amount of gluten cross contact in the oats.
What is Purity Protocol?
Many Celiacs who react to other gluten-free oats find they can eat Purity Protocol oats. Purity Protocol is a set of stringent standards for oats that minimizes the chance of cross contact from gluten-containing grains like wheat, barley, rye, and triticale. The protocol covers seed selection, growing, harvesting, and transportation. This method costs twice as much for farmers as traditional gluten-free oat methods, which is why only the most thorough companies use purity protocol oats.
How does Purity Protocol Work? With Purity Protocol, the farmer uses strands of oats that grow significantly shorter than other undesired plants. Before the plants like wheat have started forming grains, they handpick the taller invading grain shoots from the field. This, in addition to careful seed selection, facility, and transportation standards produces an oat with minimal chance of gluten cross contact.
Our Facility Is Free of These Top Allergens and Gluten
Made in a facility FREE FROM gluten & top allergens (no peanuts, no tree nuts, no soy, no dairy, no egg, no wheat, no fish/shellfish, no lupin, no sesame, no mustard, no sulfites).
Corn is present in our facility but not used in our room or on our equipment. Our packaging is also free of corn by-products and corn dusting powder.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have other questions about our products at email@example.com.
400 Chemicals We’re Currently Testing
If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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