October 2018

In this issue
  • 2018 Proficiency Testing Registration
  • Vetting Suppliers & Vendor Statements
  • Holiday Product Feature Opportunity
  • Certification Updates
  • GFCO Contact Information

2018 Proficiency Testing
Registration Reminder

REMINDER: Registration for the 2018 GFCO Proficiency Testing round began on September 1, and closes on October 31, 2018. Register by going to:
The e-commerce portal for the registration page is being updated, so this year we are only able to take payments via invoice. This year you may choose UPS as a shipping option, and the total cost of UPS shipping will be added to your invoice. Shipping via US Postal Service is still available at no extra cost. Once you receive an invoice, please contact GIG to make your payment before November 1st. Testing samples will ship during November, and you will have until December 31 to submit your results. The final report for the round will be issued in January 2019.
This program provides one way to meet GFCO Standard requirement 72, which requires that all plants who perform their own in-house gluten testing participate in PT at least once every 4 years. Contact GFCO for other PT programs that are accepted to meet this requirement.

REMINDER: Testing Submissions for the third quarter
of 2018 were due on October 10th. Please make sure
you have submitted your data to testing@gluten.org .
Vendor Approval

Vendors are mentioned in only two of the 80 GFCO Standard requirements, but don’t let this fool you — ingredients are a major source of risk in gluten-free production, and proper vetting and review of raw material suppliers is essential to mitigate this risk.
The GFCO Standards that directly mention vendors are:
  1. The Gluten Program must contain a procedure for the selection and approval of raw materials and vendors for those materials. This procedure must specify the documentation that the client will accept from each vendor, such as vendor statements, testing data, or 3rd party certification, to ensure that all raw materials meet the GFCO 10 ppm limit.
  2. The Plant must maintain a list or lists of approved vendors and raw materials.

It is essential that gluten-free manufacturers evaluate and approve their suppliers, and only use the suppliers they have approved for the raw materials they use in gluten free products. Manufacturers should decide on the criteria they will use to approve their suppliers, and then apply these criteria to every potential supplier. Along with the usual variables of price, material quality and reliability, vendors should also be assessed for their gluten safety. Some methods for evaluating the gluten safety of a supplier are:

  • Performing on-site audits of the supplier to see their procedures and practices first-hand
  • Confirmation of any 3rd party certifications held by the supplier
  • A request for statements from the supplier that describe their gluten safety measures
  • A request that the supplier provide gluten testing data with every lot of material
GFCO does not require that manufacturers collect vendor statements, or testing data, from all of their raw material suppliers as part of this approval process. Instead, GFCO provides manufacturers with risk factors of 1 through 4 for each raw material, with levels 3 and 4 considered to be materials with a high risk of gluten contamination or cross-contact. These risk levels assist in determining the type of vetting and/or documentation that a manufacturer should require when choosing or approving a vendor.
Risk level 1 ingredients are those that typically do not contain protein, and do not share any part of the supply chain with gluten grains. These ingredients do not need vendor statements for gluten.
Risk level 2 ingredients are those that typically do not share any part of the supply chain with gluten. While GFCO does not require regular testing for these ingredients, we do recommend that clients collect vendor statements or perform testing on the initial lots that they purchase, and do this again any time they change suppliers, or any time their supplier reports they have changed their own sourcing, to make sure their supplier has addressed any gluten risks.
Risk level 3 and 4 ingredients share parts of the supply chain with gluten grains, and/or have been the subject of gluten-related recalls. For these reasons, GFCO requires testing on each lot of these high-risk materials. Manufacturers do not need to collect vendor statements on these ingredients as long as they are doing the assigned testing, but they may want to collect them and submit them to GFCO to determine if they are suitable for reducing the risk level of the ingredient.
No matter how a supplier is chosen and approved, it is essential that the plant maintain the documentation that they’ve used to approve the supplier, keep a list of approved suppliers, and only buy their raw materials from those suppliers.
Once suppliers are chosen, it is important to review their performance on a regular basis. At least once a year, a review of any quality, timeliness or safety issues will provide information for the manufacturer to decide if they want to continue with their supplier, or look for others. Strong relationships with suppliers, built on factual performance information, are essential for the production of safe gluten-free foods.

Holiday Product Feature Opportunity

As the holiday season approaches, consumers often reach out to us inquiring about safe gluten-free options. Does your brand have holiday-friendly products such as baking mixes, appetizer-size bites, yummy desserts, stocking stuffers, or limited edition treats? We’d love to feature them in the upcoming holiday edition of our Celebrate Gluten-Free   e-magazine.
Your products can shine in a variety of eye-catching ways:
  • Traditional advertisements
  • Recipes
  • Advertorials
  • Coupons and incentives
  • Customized options
Your products will be featured in our digital publication that reaches over 23,000 gluten-free consumers and shared (and shared, and shared!) across social media. Don’t think your product fits the bill? Our creative team can come up with unique ways to integrate your brand into the festive season.
Spots are limited! Please email our Communications Manager at Michelle.Spano@gluten.org by November 16, 2018 to have your products featured on this list.


Certification Updates  
GFCO Systems Updates

The GFCO certification program is testing a new software system. This new system will allow GFCO to send automatic notifications to clients regarding the receipt of updates, pending audits, and other pertinent information.

As we prepare to introduce this new system, GFCO would like to test these notifications with some of our current clients, to make sure they are working correctly and provide sufficient information. If you would be interested in helping us to test this new system, please contact Paul Vachris at paul.vachris@gluten.org . Your input will be invaluable in making this system work for all of our companies.

Company Name and Ownership Changes
If your company has changed its name or been purchased by another company, please let GFCO know immediately. It is essential that GFCO certification contracts are held by the true legal owners of the product brands, under the correct legal name of the company.

Making these updates also allows us to review the certification agreements and fees for your company, and if your company has been merged or purchased by another company, this could result in a reduction in your certification fees.

Customer Service
For general certification
questions and changes to your certification, including changes to Products, Ingredients and manufacturing facilties.
For questions about payments for certification or audits.
Quality Control
For questions about audit
report findings and contract testing requirements.
Ronni Alicea


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
Vice President
Channon Quinn
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.