Certification Process

stepsCertification Steps

The road to GFCP certification involves several steps, all of which must be taken prior to gaining certification.  Read the steps outlined below carefully to ensure you understand the process from start to finish.  If you have any questions, please contact us for further information.

1 – Learn about the GFCP

It is very important to understand all aspects of the GFCP before applying to the program.  This includes:

2 – Apply to the Program

An application to the GFCP is required for:

  • Facilities manufacturing their own brand of products
  • Brand owners whose products are co-manufactured by contracted facilities
  • Contracted facilities co-manufacturing private label products

Cost of the application is $499 per facility and/or brand owner

For more details on the application process or to complete your application click here.

3 – Sign your Program License Agreement

A signed Program License Agreement (PLA) outlines the terms and conditions regarding your partnership with the GFCP and lists the products that will be eligible to carry the GFCP trademark.

4 – Book your GFCP Audit

To book your GFCP audit, contact a GFCP licensed auditing company.  This is a separate business agreement arranged directly with the auditing company.

In order to maintain an unbiased relationship, the Gluten-Free Certification Program is not directly involved in any part of the audit process.

In order to control costs and audit duration, the GFCP audit may be performed as a “stand alone” audit or combined with a recognized food safety audit, such as one of the GFSI audit standards.

Click here for a list of licensed auditing companies.

5 – Be Prepared for your Audit

Ensure you are prepared for your audit by having all required documentation, signed agreements and a clear understanding of the requirements for the audit.  As part of downloading the GFCP information package to start the certification process, a “Self-evaluation Checklist” is available here for your reference.

A Gap Assessment by a GFCP listed consultant is recommended if this is the first third-party audit you are preparing for.  A list of trained and experienced consultants can be found here.

Design New Packaging/Labels

The use of the GFCP trademark on gluten-free products, listed on “Schedule A” of your Program License Agreement (PLA) is a mandatory requirement of the program.  While it is understood that the transition to new packaging may occur over time due to current packaging inventory, the approval of the packaging design must be completed before your GFCP Certificate of Recognition (COR) will be issued and in conformance with the requirements specified within the GFCP Trademark Usage Guide (as part of the GFCP information package).

6 – Obtain your Certificate of Recognition

Following a successful GFCP audit process you will be issued a GFCP Certificate of Recognition (COR).  This process may take up to six (6) weeks from your audit date, which includes time to close out non-conformances from the audit and reporting/review.

Annual license fees must be paid before your COR number or renewal will be released to your auditing company.   Your first invoice will be issued based on your GFCP audit date.  It is important to communicate this date to your GFCP contact so invoices can be issued, and the payment process does not hold up the issuing of your certificate.

7 – Coordinate Marketing Initiatives

As part of the GFCP annual fees, brands and products are listed on the GFCP, Beyond Celiac (formerly the NFCA) and/or CCA websites and social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest).  In addition, the GFCP publishes a press release announcing certification on behalf of the GFCP certified company. Coordinating communication efforts and initiatives is important and an added value that the GFCP offers.

In addition to the stock offerings, the GFCP offers a wide range of marketing services to help spread the word of your newly new gluten free products.  For more information on these services please visit the marketing page.

8 – Maintain your Status

Annual audits conducted by a GFCP licensed certification body must be performed to verify that all requirements of the GFCP are being met by each facility in the program. In addition, a complete listing of gluten-free products using the GFCP trademark must appear on the Schedule A (which forms part of the Program License Agreement).

To maintain an annual GFCP certification in good standing, a current Certificate of Recognition must be in place for each facility manufacturing gluten-free products which display the GFCP trademark.

Ongoing annual verification audits should be scheduled  approximately 90 days prior to the expiry date of the current facility COR.