Gluten Intolerance Group of North America (GIG) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit association funded by private donations, membership proceeds and industry programs. It relies on tax-deductible contributions to support its many innovative industry, service, social and awareness programs. GIG has been a highly respected leader in the gluten-free community since it was founded in 1974. In addition to our local branches across the United States, GIG has also increased its presence internationally to 27 countries. It is headquartered in Auburn, WA.
The Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO), a program of GIG, is a leader in the verification of quality, integrity, and purity of gluten-free products. One of the top certification programs in the world, GFCO inspects products and manufacturing facilities for gluten, in an effort to maintain strict industry standards. GFCO has currently certified over 21,000 products in 27 different countries.
The Gluten-Free Food Services (GFFS) Training and Accreditation Program, a program of GIG, is designed to work with all food service establishments who wish to provide for and serve gluten-free consumers. GFFS works with experts in food preparation to develop, educate, and train service establishments to meet and adhere to the highest gluten-free standards.
Generation GF was created to build confidence in kids, teens, and young adults with gluten-related sensitivities, and to help develop them into the future leaders of the gluten-free community. The primary goals of the Generation GF program are to create local support groups and provide families a system through which they can have their questions answered. Generation GF feels that the growth of these young ambassadors will be crucial to the continued recognition of the gluten-free movement.
What is a gluten-free diet?
Gluten refers to certain proteins found in wheat, rye, and barley. People with gluten-related disorders cannot tolerate the proteins found in foods containing these grains, and eating them can cause serious health problems, including malnourishment, chronic fatigue and damage to the small intestine.
Gluten Intolerance Group of North America, founded in 1974, was the first organization to help people diagnosed with gluten reactions to identify safe and appetizing gluten-free foods.
History of GIG
Gluten Intolerance Group of North America (GIG) was founded in 1974 by Dietitian Elaine Hartsook, PhD, RD and started as a family-run organization. Elaine, GIGs first executive director, was a cancer researcher at the University of Washington and led the non-profit group for 20 years. Elaine was considered a top international expert in celiac disease until her death in 1996, which prompted the leadership of Cynthia Kupper, GIG’s current Executive Director.
Registered Dietitian Cynthia Kupper has expanded GIG in a number of ways. For more than 18 years she has developed a variety of service programs to promote safe gluten-free practices for the food manufacturing and food service industries. She has also enabled GIG to teach and support consumers about gluten-related disorders through annual education events, interviews, and educational materials. During Cynthia’s tenure, GIG has expanded its services both nationally, with 100+ local support groups, and internationally, with food service certifications in 27 countries.