Quarter 1 2021

In this issue
  • GFCO Manual Update
  • Public Product List
  • Conditions of Certification Update
  • GIG Announcement
  • Marketing Update
  • 2021 Proficiency Testing
  • Coronavirus Update
  • Logo Use Submissions
GFCO Manual Update

The GFCO Scheme Manual and GFCO Certification Body Manual have been recombined into one document—the GFCO Manual 2021. This Manual does not include any new certification requirements, but it has been additionally updated to include:

  • A definition and description of audit waivers, including information on a new form we will be using to confirm new companies working in a plant.
  • Additional guidance on completing the Product & Ingredient template.
  • A section describing the differences between a Certification Contract and a Licensing Agreement.
  • A section on international use of the GFCO certification mark
  • A new recommendation that clients packing risk level 2 ingredients as the entirety of their product consider treating those as risk level 3.
  • GFCO’s policy on “remote” auditing, under a new section titled “The Use of ICT in GFCO Certification”.
Other changes are related to the removal of references to additional certification bodies. As of January 1, 2021, GFCO will be the only entity issuing certification contracts to the GFCO Standard.
REMINDER: Testing Submissions for the fourth quarter of 2020 were due on January 10th. Please make sure to submit your data to testing@gluten.org
Automated reminders will now be sent 30 days after the testing due date, to any client who has not submitted testing data or a notice that they did not produce certified products during the previous quarter. Testing and the submission of testing data are a requirement for certification, and the failure to submit testing data, or a notice that no certified products were produced, may result in the reduction, probation or withdrawal of certification.

Public Product List
In 2020, GFCO introduced an online list of certified products, which could be accessed by consumers to find products by brand name or product name. The goal of the list is to help consumers and manufacturers find safe products and raw materials, and to direct buyers towards products that are certified by GFCO. We have had great public feedback about the list, and the ways in which it helps people to find safe products. We have also heard that consumers felt frustration and confusion, because not all certified products were available on this list. As the GFCO product directory has become a reference point for consumers confirming certification status, GFCO has determined that providing for the consumer is the priority. For these reasons, the appearance of all certified products on the public list will become mandatory on September 1, 2021, regardless of whether clients have previously chosen to opt out. We are confident that this change will benefit not only consumers but also our GFCO clients, who have invested a great deal of time and effort into earning and maintaining their certification. This will be a win-win for all.

The public product list, which can be viewed at www.gfco.org/product-directory, does not display any confidential information. The current entries are the brand name and product name, but the next phase of our public product list development may include upgrades, including a display of UPC codes and product photos.

As mentioned, there will no longer be an opportunity to opt out of having certified products appear on the public list as of September 1, and an updated Product & Ingredient template will be released in the summer to reflect this change. The only exception will be made for products that are being submitted for certification, but which have a future release date. Those products may be kept off of the list until such time as they are available for sale.
Conditions of Certification Update
The GFCO Conditions of Certification have been updated, and all clients whose certification application agreements and/or contracts reference the Conditions of Certification should be aware of these updates:

  1. Language has been added to encompass countries which recognize “guarantee marks” rather than “certification marks”. Both terms will have the same meaning, which is defined under GFCO’s definition of gluten-free.
  2. The Conditions of Certification now reference this newsletter as an official source of certification updates, with a requirement that all clients be aware of announcements made through this quarterly newsletter. Clients may also receive updates through other means, such as emails and mailings.
  3. A number of points have been added under the first section of the document titled Certification Scope. These are not new, but are rather duplicates of clauses found in the 3002—GFCO Certification Application. They have been added here for the benefit of clients who may not have originally applied using the 3002 document. Older client contracts also contain the same or similar language to the points added here.
GIG Announcement
The Gluten Intolerance Group is proud to announce a new initiative launching in 2021 that will address food insecurity in the gluten-free community. Read about the announcement here.

GIG asking for assistance from GFCO clients to help those in need with coupons, product donations, or matching gifts/fundraisers.

Can we count on your brand’s support in this effort?
Marketing Update

The GFCO global certification mark was announce one year ago and with many early adopters of the new mark, the Gluten Intolerance Group launched a consumer education and awareness effort in September 2020. Our rebrand message was delivered to over 4 million consumers through digital and print advertising, thousands engaged through virtual events, and over 100 community influencers shared the rebrand message. As of December 2020, GIG’s research showed that 30% of gluten-free consumers were aware of the new mark and 15% had seen it on products. Our awareness effort continues in 2021 with robust plans. Get involved today!

2021 Proficiency Testing Round
The 2021 GFCO Proficiency Testing round, Wheat and Barley Gluten in Pancake Mix, is now open. You may sign up at gluten.org/proficiency-registration/. Preliminary reports will be issued all year, within 2 weeks of result submission. The deadline to sign up is November 30, 2021, and all results must be received by December 31, 2021.

Coronavirus Update

GFCO is continuing to schedule annual audits for facilities that are able to receive them. If your plant has specific requirements for visitors to help lessen the risk of coronavirus transmission, please let us know.

GFCO is also offering remote audits based on a risk assessment, when that is determined to be necessary. Please see the requirements for the use of ICT during GFCO audits in the 2021 GFCO Manual, available online at www.gfco.org/certification.

REMINDER: Submission of Logo Usage
All GFCO clients are required to submit examples of any use of the GFCO certification mark for review and approval prior to use, by sending them to gfco.branding@gluten.org.

This includes the use of the logo on packaging, as well as in advertising and on any websites.

Types of submissions could include packaging proof pdf files, screenshots from websites, brochure or advertising files, or photos of products, webpages or materials.

Please make sure you are submitting this evidence prior to any use of the GFCO logo. 

Come See Us! (virtually at least)
GFCO’s Food Safety Summit booth is still available to be viewed at this link. The Exhibit Hall also has a brochure and video library with free educational content.


Regulatory Manager
Laura Allred

GFCO Certification Manager
Paul Vachris
Testing Submissions

Logo Submissions

Positive Results
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