Our Z-CODE 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. We call this the Z-Code. On our website, just scroll down this page and click on the product you are interested in to access the relevant results.
How do I scan the Z-Code on the back of my bar?
You need to download a free QR code reader on your smart phone from the app store. Here are a few we like.
- For iPhones: QR Capture, QR Reader, QR Journal
- For Android: QR Code Reader, Free QR Scanner
How Is the Testing Done?
We send a random sample of each batch to the University of Nebraska’s Food Allergy Resource and Research Project. The allergy tests can measure cross contact starting at 2.5PPM and gluten at 5PPM. Amounts less than that are not measurable. Glyphosate testing is done by AGQ Labs and is measured to 10PPB.
Note it is mathematically impossible to design a test that would give a 100% guarantee of accuracy or safety. The confidence level of our test results is 95%. We do this testing IN ADDITION to being in a facility free of the top 12 allergens and sourcing non-GMO and organic ingredients. For more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3rd Party Lab Test Results
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.
* 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 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.
Want to Read More? Start Here.
* 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.
Why Is Allergy and Gluten Batch Testing and Reporting Important to our Food Allergy Safety System?
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.
The Center for Disease Control reports that hospitalizations for food allergy reactions increased 265% in its most recent study.