May 2018

In this issue
  • GFCO Certification Manual
  • Dust Control
  • 2019 Grain Threshold
  • New Development Coordinator
  • Best Practices for Testing
  • Certification Updates
  • GFCO Contact Information


The GFCO Certification Manual   
GFCO makes every attempt to keep our gluten-free certification process simple. However, in the course of 12+ years and over 40,000 certified products, we’ve developed dozens of answers and policies regarding the specifics of certification. In order to make this information available to our current clients and new applicants, we have compiled this information into the GFCO Certification Manual, which is now available to view and download at http://www.gfco.org/get-certified/process/ .
 
The Manual describes all of the steps and requirements for achieving and maintaining product certification to the GFCO Standard. The goal is for it to serve as a resource to all of our clients, letting them know what to expect before and during certification. The Manual also includes all of GFCO’s public-facing policies on topics like conflict of interest, appeals, and impartiality. Finally, the Manual includes the full text of the GFCO Standard, with explanations of each requirement and examples of the types of evidence that a GFCO Auditor might collect during your audit.
 
The Manual includes one new policy section that is intended to benefit our clients that have carried their certification for a long period of time, and who have demonstrated the quality of their gluten management program by never having a positive gluten result (>10 ppm) in finished product. This new policy is a finished product testing step-down schedule, and it is provided in full detail beginning on page 19 of the Manual.
 
If you view the Manual online, you will see that there are links to documents that will be useful to all of our clients, including a copy of our current ISO 17065 certificate and scope of accreditation, the GFCO certification application, the GFCO Product & Ingredient template, a vendor statement template, the GFCO Approved Kit list, and many others. Use the links in the Table of Contents to explore all of the sections of the Manual.
 
We hope that you will take a look at the Manual, and make use of the information. Please contact your Customer Service Representative if you have any questions about the Manual content, or if you have any suggestions for improving the content or format.


REMINDER: Testing Submissions for the first quarter of 2018 were due on April 10th. Please make sure you have submitted your data to testing@gluten.org .
 
 
GFCO Gluten-Free Whole Grain
Threshold Changing in 2019

This is a reminder for new companies that any whole grain finished product certified by GFCO will need to meet a threshold of no more than 0.25 gluten-containing grains per kilogram, in addition to the traditional 10 ppm threshold, beginning in January of 2019.

This policy and the science behind it were described in detail in the January 2018 issue of Food Safety First. Please contact your customer service representative if you need a copy of that newsletter.
 
Say hello to Laura Eash. Laura is GIG's new Development Coordinator and will be focusing on our organization's donation, fundraising, and sponsorship opportunities. If you are interested in working with GIG to promote your products and/or services to the larger gluten-free community, please do not hesitate to reach out to Laura at laura.eash@gluten.org
 

Best Practices for Gluten Testing
 
As a facility that makes GFCO certified products, you are already using the appropriately validated test methods that are found on the GFCO Approved Kit list (if you aren’t sure if you are using an approved test method, go to the section on Testing in the GFCO Certification Manual and follow the link to the current GFCO Approved Kit list). What other steps can you take to make sure that your testing program is giving you the right results?
 
One of the most important steps in testing takes place before you even take the test kit out of the refrigerator, and that is sampling. Sampling is the process of taking a small part of the product or ingredient of interest, and doing it in a way that ensures that the small sample is representative of the larger amount of material. The GFCO Certification Manual offers sampling programs for ingredients that can also be used for finished product. These programs emphasize taking samples randomly throughout the material, and making sure that samples are taken from the full height/width/depth of the material. In 2015, the AOAC published an entire issue of open access articles on sampling that can be accessed here .
 
Once you have representative samples, it is important to keep good records of your testing, and to make sure that you can track each sample back to the product or ingredient it represents. In the GFCO Certification Manual section on Testing you will find a link to a testing log that you can use to properly document (and submit) your testing. BioMedal, the manufacturers of the GlutenTox line of test kits, recently posted a set of best practices for organizing and recording your samples prior to testing, which can be accessed here .
 
Using good sampling, organization and documentation techniques will help to ensure accurate test results.
 
Certification Updates
The final report for the 2017 GFCO Proficiency Testing round is being sent to all participants in January 2018. Thank you to all of our clients who registered and submitted their results. Keep an eye out for the next PT offering from GFCO, which will happen in late 2019. Registration dates will be announced in future editions of Food Safety First.

All clients carrying a certification contract will be receiving a notice, directly from GFCO, before annual plant audits coming up in the second quarter of 2018 and later. Be sure to look out for those notices and respond if you need to change anything regarding your account.

K eep in mind that GFCO groups annual audits geographically, in order to minimize travel costs for our clients. If you need to postpone an audit, this may increase the travel costs for that audit, because we may not be able to group it with other audits in the same area.
 
Send Us Your Requests and Ideas
Is there a certification topic that you would like to have more information on, or anything else about the gluten-free industry or manufacturing that you would like to learn more about? Let GFCO know, and we may base future Food Safety First articles on your areas of interest. Email your ideas to laura.allred@gluten.org, or go to www.gfco.org/contact-us/.
 

GFCO CONTACTS
 
Customer Service
For general certification
questions and changes to your certification, including changes to Products, Ingredients and manufacturing facilties.
 
customerservice@gluten.org
253-833-6655
 
Accounting
For questions about payments for certification or audits.
 
accounting@gluten.org
253-833-6655
 
Quality Control
For questions about audit
report findings and contract testing requirements.
 
Ronni Alicea
Ronni.alicea@gluten.org
253-266-5422
 

 


Regulatory & Standards
For questions about the GFCO Standard requirements, testing methods, and to report positive gluten test results > 10 ppm in finished product.
 
Laura Allred
laura.allred@gluten.org
253-455-0676
 
Vice President
Channon Quinn
channon.quinn@gluten.org
253-218-2956
 
Gluten Intolerance Group
31214 124th Ave SE Auburn, WA 98092
P: (253) 833-6655
F: (253) 833-6675 
 
Gluten Intolerance Group of North America® is a 501c3 nonprofit Washington State corporation. 
Tax ID 91-1458226.