If you are anything like me, trying new packaged products can be a little challenging!
As an IBS sufferer, I am always on the lookout for new convenience foods to make my life a little easier that are safe for my digestive system. And even if you are eating modified low in FODMAPs now, having a packaged food without any FODMAP ingredients is such a treat, so nothing is hiding in there.
A little while ago, we heard about the FODMAP Friendly Certification Program, so we wanted to share a little about it to keep you in the loop. The program was developed in Australia several years ago, and since then has been fully registered in several countries around the world. Its purpose is to rigorously test foods according to a complete set of rules and criteria using methods that have been approved by governmental organizations to determine whether they contain safe levels of FODMAPs for IBS sufferers.
We spoke with Tim Mottin, the co-founder of the program, to get more information about the certification for you.
Please note, this is an unbiased, un-paid review of the program.
What is the FODMAP Friendly Certification?
The FODMAP Friendly Certification Program is the world’s first registered and government-approved licensing program that certifies foods and food products to be low in FODMAPs. All testing is completed independently by approved laboratories under a published and government-approved set of rules and criteria. Approved products display the following logo on packaging.
What are the benefits of having a FODMAP Friendly certification?
Confidence in what you eat! The FODMAP Friendly logo is used on packaged foods to take away the “guesswork” for consumers when reading ingredient lists. The logo is a convenient way to identify foods that are low in all FODMAPs, as they are independently laboratory tested. Other packaged foods may be low in some FODMAPs, however without a logo and certification on the packaging, consumers are forced to attempt to interpret FODMAP levels themselves.
What is the difference between a product having a certification and a product making a claim?
Anyone can make a claim and unfortunately, we’re seeing labels appear on food products claiming the product is “friendly”, when in fact it does not meet any accredited testing criteria. Businesses and manufacturers are able to slap a label on packaging and sell the product, yet be held to no account for their claims.
Only products carrying certified labelling under a registered program, can be trusted by consumers. Without certification, consumers have no way of knowing whether purchased products are truly suitable for their condition.
Our certification process involves rigorous testing, to ensure products meet strict standards, in order to gain the FODMAP Friendly license and logo. Unfortunately, in today’s market, many products do not adhere to these guidelines.
How do certain food products earn the FODMAP Friendly Certification?
Manufacturers may apply for application under the FODMAP Friendly Program by filling in a preliminary application form. This information is then assessed by our technical staff. If the initial application appears to be consistent with our guidelines, a formal application is made. Samples of the products are then sent for analysis to an approved independent laboratory, where comprehensive testing is undergone, to measure the FODMAP content of the product. After testing is complete, quantitative data is compiled regarding the sugar totals, and it is ‘approved’ or ‘not approved’, depending on whether the product falls within the acceptable FODMAP thresholds. If the product is successful, licensing is granted for an agreed term, and the product receives the FODMAP Friendly logo, which is displayed prominently for consumers on the packaging.
Who is using the FODMAP Friendly certification now?
Throughout Australia, we have many major brands under the Certification Program, with an increasing number of applications annually. These manufacturers and their products can be found on our website. A number of these brands are in the process of having their certified products available in overseas markets. At present, we are also working with some manufacturers in the USA and UK to achieve certification for their products under the FODMAP Friendly program. We hope these certified products will be available for consumers in those countries later this year.
How will this certification help Canadians suffering with IBS?
The current dietary recommendations for alleviating IBS type symptoms point towards following a diet low in FODMAPs. Unfortunately, sufferers are forced to prepare home cooked meals trying to use ingredients believed to be low in FODMAPs. Combining these low FODMAP ingredients together however may sometimes result in a person unknowingly exceeding their tolerance threshold for specific FODMAPs. By purchasing foods approved under the certification program, consumers can shop for readymade meals and products from the supermarket shelf, and be confident that the products are low in FODMAPs. The FODMAP Friendly logo enables consumers to “Eat with Confidence!”
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the FODMAP Friendly Certification Program’s co-founder, Tim Mottin, for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions! The certification program is currently in the process of being registered in Canada, so keep an eye out for their logo in the next several months!
Wishing you good gut health and wellness,
Stephanie and the Team