WEBSITE CURRENTLY IN MAINTENANCE
Gluten Free Certification Program > Articles by: GFCP

Posts By: GFCP

GFCP Blog

Newsletter – Summer 2017

THE GLUTEN-FREE STANDARD

A PUBLICATION OF THE ALLERGEN CONTROL GROUP INC.


In This Edition…..


ACG UPDATE:

Message from the President.

– read more

WELCOME NEW BRANDS:

Welcome Lidl US and Other Exciting New Brands!

– read more

GFCP PROGRAM UPDATE:

Attn CB’s: Changes to GFMS Accreditation Program

– read more

BEYOND CELIAC UPDATE:

New Diagnostic Tool Helps Identify Gluten Exposure

– read more

TECHNICAL & REGULATORY:

Is Your Facility Audit Ready?

– read more

CCA UPDATE:

Celiac Community Celebrates with Catelli

– read more

PEOPLE MOVERS:

New Faces To Look Out For!

– read more

UPCOMING TRAINING:

GFCP Online Training Is Live!

– read more

INDUSTRY PARTICIPATION:

Australia Hosts the 2nd Food Allergen Management Symposium

– read more

CB UPDATE:

Welcome Dicentra as a GFCP Approved Certifying Body

– read more


ACG UPDATE:

Message from the President

Paul Valder, President & CEO, Allergen Control Group Inc.

Dear valued colleagues,

Now that Independence and Canada Days are over, I thought it’s time to reach out again and update all our amazing companies and brand customers, who are already “doing-the-right-thing” and supporting those consumers diagnosed with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten-sensitivity.

Over the past few months, I’ve been privileged to be invited as a guest speaker at the Allergen Bureau’s Food and Allergen Management Symposium, held in beautiful Sydney Harbor, Australia and more recently, at the Food Safety California conference, held in stunning Monterey, CA. The learnings from attending these venues continue to be hugely worthwhile and the message also continues to be clear. “Allergens and gluten are still the number one cause of global food recalls” and all countries need to work towards a consensus based approach, to effectively managing allergens, based on science. As a set of sciences based thresholds in food products for allowable safe levels of allergens and gluten has not yet been agreed upon, companies must implement rigorous preventative management tools, to effectively manage their risks. The scientists all agree that relying on product testing is like playing “Russian Roulette” with your brand and certainly not serving the best interest of those consumers depending on consistently safe, packaged foods.

For the companies and brands still thinking they are ok with that product test …. I ask you to think again! Does your business really understand the regulation and the new FSMA rules? How are the identified risks now passed on throughout the supply chain and likely to your own operation? These new rules are game changing regulations and the liability for business owners is an even more serious game, than ever before. Have you trained your employees effectively? Have you really done your due diligence beyond asking for COA’s and letters of assurance from your suppliers? Do you or your employees really know, not only how to identify your risks, but also how to assess and document them for regulators and auditors? Do you know the difference between the various allergen and gluten test-kits on the market? More importantly, do you know how to correctly use them, where to use them and for which products/ingredients/surfaces, etc.? These may all seem like easy questions to answer, but I assure you proving your due diligence every day and within your “well defined management system”, will sure make it a lot easier to prove when in front of the judge. So, “think” and educate yourself on the differences between management systems and facility process certification, versus the “smoke and mirrors” which very often loom behind the pitfalls of product certification.

Anyway, enough ranting for now and hope you will check-out the balance of our newsletter and by the way, I know Heather Nelson in our marketing department is always looking for great content contributors, so don’t hesitate to let her know you would like to send something to her for the next issue of “The Standard” heather.nelson@glutenfreecert.com.


GFCP PROGRAM UPDATE:

Attn CB’s: Changes to GFMS Accreditation Program. Deadline Jan. 1/19.

On August 7, 2016 it was announced that in response to the global interest in gluten-free foods, the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB) would offer accreditation for certification bodies (CB) providing audits and certification of management systems meeting the requirements of the Gluten-Free Certification Program (GFCP).

Any new CB seeking recognition as a CB by ACG shall become accredited by ANAB prior to being eligible for licensing recognition by ACG. ACG will recognize and license only accredited Certification Bodies such that all GFCP issued certificates will transition to accredited certificates, on or before January 1, 2019.

As an important stakeholder in the development of the Gluten-Free Management System (GFMS) accreditation program, we would like to inform you of changes to the pre-requisite requirement for GFMS Accreditation program.

During the development of the GFMS accreditation program it was agreed that it is important for the CB to have background and knowledge in the food industry as a pre-requisite for GFMS accreditation. Resulting from that discussion a requirement for the CB to either be accredited or become accredited concurrently for ISO 22000 by ANAB, was included in the ANAB Accreditation Rule for GFMS program.

ANAB is currently in process of accepting applications for the GFMS program and it appears approximately ½ of the CBs are already accredited for ISO 22000 by another IAF member AB and most others are product CBs with accreditation for a GFSI recognized certification program. Based on the analysis of current GFCP recognized CBs and certified organizations, it was decided by ACG and ANAB that the pre-requisite will be changed to require ISO 22000 accreditation by ANAB or IAF MS MLA signatory; or any GFSI recognized scheme such as BRC or SQF.

This approach will meet the intent of the CB having the knowledge and experience in the food industry but alleviate the burden of duplicate accreditations. It will also further demonstrate ANAB commitment as an IAF member, to recognize accreditations issued by other IAF members.

It is important to note that ANAB and ACG remain committed to management systems accreditation for the GFCP and all CBs regardless of how they meet the pre-requisite will be required to conform to the requirements of ISO 17021-1 and any applicable IAF requirements for management systems CB.

For a copy of the revised GFMS Accreditation Rule (AR) please contact Natalia Larrimer. The revised AR is currently in approval process with the ANAB Accreditation Council.


BEYOND CELIAC UPDATE:

New Diagnostic Tool Helps Identify Gluten Exposure
Amy Ratner, Beyond Celiac Science and Medical Writer

Gluten exposure and compliance with the gluten-free diet are tricky and touchy topics among those who have celiac disease. Currently, there is no reliable method to determine whether and how much gluten a person has consumed.

Doctors and dietitians usually rely on blood tests to help patients manage the condition. But studies have shown that while these tests are very effective at diagnosis, they don’t do a very good job in monitoring celiac disease. Patients with negative blood test results often have intestinal damage revealed through a follow up biopsy.

Patients who are working hard to follow the diet are often frustrated by how easy it is to unknowingly eat something that contains gluten. Products that appear to be gluten-free have sometimes come into contact with gluten from a contaminated source. Dining out is challenging because food prepared outside the home presents a high-risk for cross-contact with gluten when it’s stored, prepared or served.

Consequently, those with celiac disease face uncertainty and anxiety when they think they’ve been exposed to gluten. Some have symptoms but aren’t sure of the timing or source of exposure, and others have minimal symptoms but still might have been exposed. Finally, some have symptoms but don’t recognize them as being related to celiac disease.

The good news is that over-the-counter tests to detect gluten in stool or urine could be on store shelves in the United States by the end of the year.

Called GlutenDetect, they work like a pregnancy test and will offer consumers a quick and easy way to determine if they’ve been exposed to gluten. A version of the test that measures the amount of gluten providing a numerical result could also be available by the end of the year, but it would have to be sent to a laboratory for analysis.

Physicians could use both the quick-read test in the office and results from the lab-analyzed test to help patients manage celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. The tests will also have important implications for researchers working on experimental celiac disease treatments.

When the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently weighed in on what is needed for approval of any drug to treat celiac disease, the agency noted that a reliable method of monitoring gluten exposure will be key. A test that could measure gluten and meet this critical unmet need could help speed new treatments.


TECHNICAL & REGULATORY:

Is Your Facility Audit Ready?

Jessica Burke, Manager, Compliance & Technical Services, Allergen Control Group Inc.

So you have decided to go down the road of certifying your facility in the Gluten-Free Certification Program (GFCP). The road to GFCP certification involves several steps. While you may have done your due diligence in learning about the requirements of the program, signing your agreement and booking your audit, you can never be too prepared. Too ensure you are audit ready our technical team has prepared a summary of the top GFCP audit non-conformances so you can ensure you cover these requirements.

We often see non-conformities (NC’s) around GFCP employee training and education. The most common non-conformance in this area is failure to provide evidence of temporary and/or full time employee training around gluten control.

We recognize that employee Training is a big challenge in many facilities, especially where temporary employees are utilized and turn-over is high. However, it is important to remember employees are your greatest resource. Knowledgeable employees are more likely to follow GMPs, and will make educated decisions, reducing the company’s overall risk.

Corrective actions to NC’s around GFCP employee training may include the development of an information sheet that must be reviewed and signed by temporary employees prior to their first day of work. The record might be e-mailed to the facility by the Temporary Employment Agency, or the employee could bring the hard copy with them on their first day. A training matrix is a very useful tool for tracking employees, training modules that have been covered, and training dates. This allows employees that are absent during training sessions to be easily tracked and training scheduled upon their return.

Non-conformities around gluten containing ingredient storage are also prevalent. Common examples include the absence of gluten or allergen labels on gluten containing ingredients, and the storage of gluten containing ingredients with non-gluten containing ingredients.

The best way to ensure appropriate ingredient storage is to make it as easy as possible for employees to identify gluten and non-gluten containing products.

Corrective actions might include labelling designated shelves with stickers which indicate the allergens that are permitted to be there. Colour coded allergen stickers can be very useful as they provide a visual tool for employees to quickly assess the appropriate storage location for ingredients. Labelling ingredients immediately upon receipt will aide in the identification of gluten and non-gluten containing ingredients from arrival right through to point of use.

Regardless of the non-conformity, well thought out and thorough corrective actions are the key to preventing reoccurrence and reducing risk.


CCA UPDATE:

Celiac Community Celebrates with Catelli

Melissa Secord, Executive Director, CCA

A green wave swept over the celiac community in May. May is Celiac Awareness Month in Canada and the Canadian Celiac Association was busy throughout the month increasing awareness and raising donations in support of programming and services.

Every member of CCA and every Member of Parliament in Ottawa was given a ‘celiac green’ ribbon to show their pride and support awareness.

“We tried some new innovative activities this month to generate more awareness of the disease,” says Melissa Secord, new Executive Director for CCA. “We were fortunate to partner with Catelli, a GFCP partner, on two initiatives – a Twitter party and a month long membership drive giveaway.”

On May 1, CCA hosted a fast-paced one-hour Twitter Party, kicking off the month. The Twitter Party encouraged people to follow the hashtag #AskTheCeliac to follow the conversations and to learn more about the disease by answering questions posed by CCA. Those who responded to the questions had a chance to win a number of prizes including the Grand Prize of a Catelli gluten-free pasta prize pack. CCA had its in-house expert Sue Newell along with registered dietitian, Karine Barlow, and GFCP’s Allen Rekunyk on hand to answer questions by party participants. The event was a great success with 2,700 postings, leading to 4.3 million impressions and landing on 193,000 Twitter users feeds.

In addition to the on-line party, CCA hosted two webinars with nearly 200 participants, fielding 120 questions related to learning about labelling. CCA capped off the busy month with a cross-Canada ‘Ask the Celiac’ Facebook Live Day featuring four leading dietitians and CCA’s Sue Newell. Throughout the day, our experts did live feed video messages on timely topics such as dining out and travel tips reaching over 8,000 Facebook views.

CCA thanks everyone who supported the campaign. We were thrilled to reach our fundraising goal. CCA is a national registered charity and relies on external sources of funding and donors for over 50 percent of its revenue. Funds generated are used to develop education, provide peer support counselling, research and public awareness.

“We took the opportunity to showcase our outstanding GFCP partners throughout the month whether it was on Twitter or Facebook,” says Secord. “We are looking for new ways to partner with more stakeholders to provide more educational programs for people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, like we did with Catelli. We feel that it can be a win-win-win for all of us.”

We have a very supportive industry community and we look forward to developing some innovative and fun programming to reach and serve more people.


PEOPLE MOVERS:

New Faces To Look Out For!

From L to R: Mika Varelas, Regional Manager, Business Development, Allergen Control Group; Édith Lalanne, Directrice générale, Fondation québécoise de la maladie cœliaque (FQMC); Maria Rosales-Patungan, Administrative Assistant, Allergen Control Group;Melissa Secord, Executive Director, Canadian Celiac Association (CCA); Jessica Burke, Manager, Compliance & Technical Services, Allergen Control Group.

UPCOMING TRAINING:

Gluten-Free Online Training Powered by the Food Processing Human Resources Council Is Now Live!

Register for training before July 31 & receive $50 off with coupon code GFNews50

We are pleased to announce that Gluten-Free Certification Program training for Industry, Consultants and Auditors is now available online! The objective of the course is to provide food industry professionals with the knowledge about the ANAB Accredited Gluten-Free Certification Program Standard, Policies and Procedures that is necessary for a facility to successfully complete a third party audit. The course is based on the auditing methodology documented in ISO 17065 and 17021 and the technical skills necessary to train and implement the GFCP requirements. Understanding how to manage gluten as a chemical hazard and the many hidden sources of gluten throughout the manufacturing process will prepare attendees to assist their facility in attaining gluten-free certification. To learn more or to take the training click here.



INDUSTRY PARTICIPATION:

2nd Food Allergen Management Symposium
An Allergen Bureau Perspective

Sydney, Australia in late-May 2017 provided a perfect setting for bringing together some of the world’s leading food allergen experts – and over 160 delegates – as they sought to address the needs of the food allergic consumer. The 2nd Food Allergen Management Symposium (FAMS2017), including the Second Asia Pacific Food Allergen Management Workshop, was a unique forum where a diverse mix of stakeholders – representing food industry researchers, dieticians, clinicians and consumer groups – could share their latest food allergen learnings. The variety of speakers and range of topics presented over three full days successfully reflected the conference theme of “Global harmonisation of food allergy management – collaboration, innovation, science and communication”, and showed the willingness of all to be engaged for the delivery of better food allergen management outcomes.

The Allergen Bureau of Australia and New Zealand was delighted to co-organise FAMS2017, along with the ARC Training Centre for Advanced Technologies in Food Manufacture of the University of New South Wales; National Measurement Institute; and University Laval.

Allergen Bureau key findings from participation in FAMS2017 were that:

  • Pre-competitive collaboration provides the best solution to complex problems for food industry, clinicians and consumers. The Allergen Bureau’s VITAL® Program is a working example of global best practice;
  • The international view of the Reference Dose concept has shifted significantly in recent years. This was evidenced by the number of presentations which made positive mention of both, the Reference Dose concept, generally, and the VITAL Scientific Expert Panel Reference Doses (Taylor et. al. 2014; Allen et al 2014), specifically. Both local and international regulators, and clinicians (although not all), are moving towards acceptance and adoption of Reference Doses;
  • There are still significant challenges for the industry in delivering consistent allergen management. More tools are needed and are being developed;
  • There are challenges for those working with the allergic consumer (clinicians, dieticians, consumer groups) in conveying the efforts of the food industry to their own stakeholders. Ongoing sharing of viewpoints and challenges between all stakeholders is the only way forward to delivering acceptable outcomes for all stakeholders;
  • Food service, hospitals and catering are key stakeholders that still need to be fully engaged. In Australia, the National Allergen Strategy is working on this need, with significant contribution from the Allergen Bureau;
  • While not everyone is at the same point of the food allergen management journey, we are all moving in the same direction; and
  • Continuing the discussion is critical to achieving our common objective of protecting the allergic consumer in a practical and pragmatic way. Clear and consistent communication, at both a local and international level, is key.

We look forward to reviewing progress at FAMS2019.


CB UPDATE:

Welcome Dicentra as a GFCP Approved Certifying Body

The Allergen Control Group is pleased to announce the addition of dicentra as a newly trained and approved Gluten-Free Certification Program third party auditing and certification company. This partnership with dicentra will provide industry with more capabilities to bundle food safety audits together with the Gluten-Free Certification Program. To learn more please visit dicentra.com/gluten-free