Gluten-free certification program issue 3
Persons dependent upon a strict gluten-free diet need to know that labelled products are safe. A gluten-free management system provides a strong level of protection from failure and clear recognition at point of purchase.
The standard is HACCP-based and incorporates food safety management systems and internationally accepted best manufacturing practices to ensure product safety and quality. Retailers, food service companies and major food manufacturers accept certification to the standard as part of their supplier approval process. It takes a common sense, risk-based approach, supports regulatory compliance and provides companies with a clear path toward certification.
BRCGS’s Gluten-Free Certification Program (GFCP) can be attached to any GFSI-benchmarked food safety standard, such as FSSC 22000, IFS Food and SQF. The audits may be conducted as standalone or in combination with your GFSI certification audit. This helps you reduce audit costs and disruption to business activities. Moreover, it harmonizes certification dates for your convenience.
Benefits:Adopting a systems-based and facility certification approach can help your company:
- Prevent product failure
- Reduce the risks associated with relying solely on end-product gluten testing
- Protect persons at risk and make it easy to identify gluten-free products
- Open new markets and increases business opportunities
- Enables cost and operational efficiencies by combining audits with existing GFSI-benchmarked standards
- Builds consumer brand trust by associating gluten-free consumer product claims and endorsements with leading celiac organizations
The standard:The Gluten-Free Certification Program (GFCP) Global Standard provides a framework for a gluten free management system. It supports the control of gluten in gluten-free products, from manufacturing to processing and packaging. It compliments the GFSI-benchmarked standards and is recognized by major celiac associations globally. The standard is applicable to the following products:
- processed foods, both own brand and customer branded
- ingredients for use by food service companies, catering companies and/or food manufacturers
- pet foods
- natural health products
- Senior leadership commitment
Anchoring at the top is essential to develop a good safety culture and for the GFMS to be effective. It helps ensure full implementation and continual system development.
- Prerequisite programs
A fully implemented prerequisite program is the foundation of a GFMS. It is required to control the operational conditions of the site and foster the production of safe food.
- Gluten controls
Measures must be in place to control gluten throughout the production process. This includes appropriate training of staff, supplier and ingredient approvals, finished product specifications, and testing.
- HACCP principles
The site shall have a documented, fully implemented, and effective food safety plan that incorporates the Codex Alimentarius HACCP principles.
To demonstrate the effective application of each control measure and to facilitate official independent third-party verifications, records must be kept.
- Document control
The site shall have a procedure to manage documents that outline the GFMS.
- Validation control
Measures must be validated. Documentation must include sufficient proof of the effective control of each hazard, including supporting data.
- GFMS maintenance and reassessment
The responsible team shall review the GFSM at least annually and prior to any changes that may affect product safety. Changes resulting from the review shall be incorporated into the GFMS and communicated to involved employees through relevant training, fully documented, and the validation recorded.
- Internal audits
There shall be a scheduled program of internal audits. The established frequency should be seen in relation to the associated risks and previous audit performance. All activities shall be performed at least once a year.
How to get certified?
- Learn about the program
Visit the GFCP website to learn more about the program, benefits and download the standard.
- Get the standard
To apply online and receive the GFCP Global Standard issue 3 and other technical documents, visit the BRGC website.
- Sign up for the program
Enter into a Program License Agreement outlining your terms and conditions with BRCGS. Submit a Schedule A and/or equivalent BRCGS-approved process which captures all of the gluten-free products that will be recognized under the GFCP Global Standard.
- Prepare for the audit
Before scheduling an audit, chose your preferred option and conduct a preliminary self-assessment. This can be done as an internal audit, using the GFCP self-assessment checklist.
- Select a certification body
Select your accredited certification body, such as DNV. Together we will agree on the scope of the audit and confirm the date.
- Perform the audit
The audit checks the practical implementation of the gluten-free management system. This includes observation of production procedures and processes, document reviews and staff interviews. A traceability challenge and review of product labels are also part of the audit.
- Become certified
Any non-conformities and corrective actions must be closed within 28 days following the audit. The certification body will review your evidence before finalizing the audit report and issue your certificate within 42 days from the first audit day.
- Maintain the certification
Use the insight from the certification process to identify improvement areas and assess ways you can continue to meet the requirements of the program. This will also help you prepare for next year’s audit. Make sure it is booked so it can take place approximately 2 months before your GPCP certificate expires to allow enough time for the audit and new certificate to issued.
- Labels and consumer communication
Make sure consumers easily detect that your product is truly gluten-free and safe. You can use the GFCP owner or managed endorsement trademarks on retail packaging. To do so, you must review the requirements of the GFCP Trademark Usage Guide to design your marketing materials and labels. This must be submitted for approval to BRCGS before use in the market.
How can DNV help?Services we can provide:
- Gap Assessment
DNV offers gap assessment against the requirements of the standards with the aim of helping sites to be prepared for their certification audit. It highlights areas where improvements are required for a site to be successful in their certification audit.
- Certification to the Gluten-Free Certification Program
Certification of your product safety management system.
Official BRC training for Gluten Free Standard
DNV has an extensive network of auditors whom have a wide range of experience in auditing organizations for products and processes addressing food safety, quality and sustainability. This includes food safety certification to all GFSI-benchmarked standard.
Within the global network for DNV, auditors are located within many countries who can offer audits in local language with the knowledge and understanding of local customs.