Gluten Free Certification Program > Newsletters > Newsletter – Spring 2018



Newsletter – Spring 2018



In This Edition…..


Message from the President.

– read more


Welcome Kashi and Other Exciting New Brands!

– read more


ACG Strengthens Technical Expertise & Business Development Team.

– read more


An Extremely Strict Gluten-Free Diet May Reduce Quality of Life.

– read more


Gluten in Drug Products and Associated USFDA Labeling Recommendations.

– read more

Understanding Food Safety Investigation and Recall Process.

– read more


ACG Increases Ease of Access to Mandatory Food Safety Training for Manufacturers.

– read more


A Special Invitation for GFCP Customers.

– read more


Welcome TUV USA, Inc. As An Approved Third Party GFCP Auditing Company.

– read more

Orion Partners with Eurofins to Expand Auditing and Certification Services.

– read more


What Are Consumers Saying?

– read more


Meet Us Face-to-Face At Upcoming Events.

– read more


Industry, Consultant & Auditor Training in Sydney, Australia.

– read more


RC Show 2018 | Canada’s Largest Food Services Trade Event.

– read more


Cloud 9 Specialty Bakery: How Hard Could That Be?

– read more


GFCP Quick Reference Guide Now Available Online!

– read more


Message from the President

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

I am always amazed by the number of inquiries that the Gluten-Free Certification Program receives from small and innovative gluten-free start-up companies, and as a result, continue to consider how we can better serve this important segment of the market.

Allergen Control Group is and always has been committed to supporting entrepreneurial business through the provision of valuable information, key industry introductions and affordable certification fees. However, facilities thinking about entering the Program need to understand that it is not the certification fee itself which prevents many SME’s from successfully acquiring GFCP certification, but the senior management commitment to allocating the financial resources and manpower required to implement food safety education, employee training, documented policies, preventative controls/ procedures, a third-party audit process and the associated continued improvement disciplines. These requirements can be overwhelming to many SME’s.

As is the case with many other health claims, alternate gluten-free certifications can be obtained by simply sending out a food sample to a lab and receiving a Certificate of Analysis (COA). Although, this may be faster and cheaper, believe me these types of supposed credible certifications will not eliminate a risk of product failure and certainly will keep an owner “up-at-night” worrying if a recall is about to happen. I encourage you to read this overview of Management Systems to understand the true difference between a product certification and the Gluten-Free Certification Program.

In addition to providing an effective gluten-free certification process for effectively controlling gluten sources and cross contamination within a facility, ACG now makes available quick and affordable online food safety and allergen training modules, geared toward frontline employees. These convenient “micro” modules are available on an individual basis for as low as $34.99, or as part of a corporate package, whereby many more employees can be trained and monitored, as an affordable method of reducing operational risk and generating audit evidence.

Also, on the horizon is the GFCP Food Safety Manual. This mega manual will include templated forms for standardizing policies and operating procedures along with full guidance for SME’s to self evaluate their business when implementing a food safety system in order to meet the readiness requirements of a third-party GFCP audit and certification process. This will be an awesome and affordable tool, designed to serve smaller food manufacturing operations, where having basic good documented manufacturing practices and HACCP pre-requisite programs, is a must.

Please stay tuned over the summer months, as ACG announces new and collaborative business opportunities for our existing valued customers, and practical added values for facilities and brands, to bundle services when joining the GFCP.


Exciting New Brands to Enter the Program!



GFCPACG Strengthens Technical Expertise & Business Development.

ACG is pleased to announce the addition of two new key roles to support growing gluten-free, allergen and free-from manufacturing claims.

The Allergen Control Group is proud to announce two new positions in its Canadian office, created to better serve customers and build their already technically competent reputation throughout North America and the world. Allergen Control Group Inc. (ACG) is the standard owner of the globally recognized Gluten-Free Certification Program (GFCP), the only ISO 17021 accredited gluten-free management system certification designed for manufacturers and brand owners committed to producing safe, reliable gluten-free products.

“We are very proud to welcome Barry Meikle to fill the new Technical Services Coordinator position” states Jessica Burke, Manager of Compliance & Technical Services, at ACG. “Having Barry join our GFCP technical team will be a huge asset for ACG and allow us to better respond to customer needs as well as communicate with our Certification Bodies and their growing GFCP approved global food auditor base.”

Barry Meikle is an expert in food safety with a B.Sc. in Environmental Health from Cardiff Metropolitan University, a Level 3 Award in HACCP for Food Manufacturing, and is an IRCA ISO 9001:2015 certified auditor. He has extensive work experience in the food industry, environmental health and food standards having worked for Foods Standards Agency in Wales, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and Newport City Council. Being well aware of HACCP requirements and allergen regulations, Barry will support managing new developments for ACG’s gluten, allergen and free-from standards and product claims within the food, drug and natural health product sectors.

In addition, ACG welcomes Natalie Santos to the GFCP team in a newly created business development capacity. Natalie will provide interested SME’s with support and coaching throughout the onboarding process. Working from the Head Office, she will work closely with the business development and marketing teams, with a mandate to grow the number of gluten-free brands and certified manufacturers within the program. “I am excited to work closely with Natalie and am confident our customers will welcome her knowledge, maturity and overall strong business acumen,” states Paul Valder, ACG president and CEO.


An Extremely Strict Gluten-Free Diet May Reduce Quality of Life.

Amy Ratner, Beyond Celiac Medical and Science News Analyst

Gluten-free certification can help reduce anxiety associated with an extremely strict gluten-free diet. New study finds celiac disease patients’ quality of life is less when they are hypervigilant.

Hypervigilance about the gluten-free diet can lead to reduced quality of life for adults and teenagers, a new study by Columbia University researchers found.

For food manufacturers in the gluten-free marketplace, it is important to adopt gluten-free certification programs to reduce the damaging stress and anxiety associated with trying to keep a very strict gluten-free diet. Consumers rely on this information to make informed, safe choices about the foods they eat.

“Extreme vigilance to the gluten-free diet may increase symptoms, such as anxiety and fatigue and, therefore, lower quality of life,” researchers from the Department of Health and Behavior Studies and the Columbia University Celiac Disease Center wrote. “In other words, there may be a cost to hypervigilance for some individuals with celiac disease.”
In addition, both dietary adherence and social and emotional well-being need to be addressed by healthcare providers, the study, published in the journal, Digestive Diseases and Sciences, concludes.

“We absolutely must continue to advocate for a strict 100 percent gluten-free diet for individuals with celiac disease,” said lead study author Randi Wolf, Ph.D., associate professor of human nutrition. “I think what our research showed, was that, for some, such hypervigilance may come at a cost that needs to be supported and addressed concurrent with following a strict gluten-free diet.”

Hypervigilant Defined

The 50 adults and 30 teenagers who participated in the study were categorized as being “extremely vigilant” and “less vigilant” based on a review of gluten exposure detailed through three days of diet recollection and phone interviews by nutrition experts.

Participants were considered “extremely vigilant” if they: reported no evidence of accidental or intentional gluten ingestion, would only eat at celiac-friendly restaurants, asked thorough questions when eating out, called each manufacturer before eating a new food or taking a new medication, kept a completely gluten-free home to avoid potential for cross-contamination, or seemed to be take a lot of extra precautions to avoid cross-contamination. Those who were “less vigilant” may have had evidence of hidden sources of gluten on their diet recalls, reported that they don’t always ask thorough questions when eating out, checked labels on some but not all medications or products, or may have reported intentional gluten consumption on occasions.

Julie Kennedy, who has, and is the parent of child with, celiac disease, said she would have been considered hypervigilant if she had participated in the study. Despite her vigilance, when they eat out, she and her daughter can never really relax and enjoy themselves, and they feel the anxiety the researchers found. She agrees it reduces their quality of life.

“What the research shows is that we cannot assume the gluten-free diet is the complete answer,” said Kennedy, a member of the Beyond Celiac Patient and Family Advisory Council. “Stress and anxiety are very damaging, so what risks are we developing?”

When weighing the consequences of a minute amount of gluten getting into the diet versus the emotional toll of always worrying about food, Kennedy wondered, “In the long term, which is worse?”

While it’s universally accepted that celiac disease patients need to eliminate harmful gluten from wheat, barley and rye from their diets, the particulars of achieving a gluten-free diet are less clear. In the United States, foods labeled gluten-free have to contain less than 20 parts per million.
Celiac disease patients have to make choices every day about the risk of gluten exposure from the gluten-free products they purchase, to the restaurants they frequent, to the social settings where they feel safe eating. Consumer confidence can be increased when a food is certified gluten-free and meets strict guidelines when it is made and packaged.

The Columbia study focused on the association between quality of life, energy levels, adherence to and knowledge about the gluten-free diet. Participants were diagnosed with celiac disease through an intestinal biopsy and had been on the gluten-free diet for more than one year.

Quality of life scores

Adults who were hypervigilant had quality of life scores that were significantly lower than those who were less vigilant. Likewise, adults with lower energy levels reported significantly lower quality of life. Patterns were similar for teenagers. Meanwhile, hypervigilant adults were more knowledgeable about the gluten-free diet than those who were less vigilant.

Extreme vigilance that creates anxiety and stress may lead to low energy levels and fatigue, the authors wrote, but added that this relationship needs more investigation.

“The hypervigilance described in our sample, for example bringing their own dishes to restaurants or other homes and thorough and repeated questioning at restaurants, may come with a meaningful and relevant cost,” the study authors wrote.

They noted that the study’s findings conflict with previous research that has shown that better dietary adherence is associated with higher quality of life scores and suggested that the tools used to collect information on quality of life and dietary adherence might explain the difference. The Columbia study used celiac disease specific measurements and relied on nutrition professionals’ evaluations of vigilance compared to patients’ self-reported perceptions.

For example, the study says, one participant perceived herself to be extremely vigilant, reporting she never had gluten in the past month but went on to say she took gluten-containing croutons off her salad before eating it.

Promoting well-being

The potentially negative consequences of being extremely diligent about a strict gluten-free diet should lead healthcare providers to be aware of the importance of promoting both adherence to the diet and social and emotional well-being, the study concludes.

The authors called for ongoing involvement of a registered dietitian that continues beyond an initial visit at the time of celiac disease diagnosis. Only 16 percent of adults and about 27 percent of teenagers were seeing a dietitian at the time they were participating in the study. Most had no follow-up after diagnosis.

A recent Beyond Celiac study showed that more than one in four celiac disease patients diagnosed in the last five years have not had any follow-up care.

The National Institutes of Health recommends that celiac disease patients consult with a skilled dietitian and have continuous long-term follow-up by a multidisciplinary health team. “It appears these guidelines are rarely met among our participants,” the study says.

Dietitians need to develop ways to help celiac disease patients address difficulties in dining out. Seventy four percent of adults and about 87 percent of the teenagers in the study cited aspects of dining out as a barrier to adhering to the gluten-free diet. Desire to take advantage of increased restaurant options, combined with distrust of menus and ill-informed wait staff were reported as “considerable sources of frustration and anxiety.”

The study illustrates the critical need to develop and evaluate nutrition education strategies that promote increased adherence to the gluten free diet while at the same time taking care to maintain a high quality of life, the authors wrote.

Family-centered nutrition education

More than 80 percent of study participants reported that supportive family and friends are important when it comes to following the gluten-free diet. Consequently, the impact of family-centered nutrition education needs to be explored as a way to increase adherence and quality of life.

“We also need to explore interventions that may help reduce some of the barriers described in our study that created the most anxiety and stress,” Wolf said. “We are currently pilot testing various interventions, such as gluten sensor devices, cooking-classes, and online discussion tools, to learn about their potential utility in promoting a strict gluten-free diet, but also whether or not such interventions could help improve quality of life.”

Kennedy said she would welcome real solutions, especially follow-up care from a dietitian with expertise in celiac disease. Like some study participants, she saw a dietitian once when diagnosed, but the dietitian knew less than she did about the gluten-free diet. Neither Kennedy or her daughter have had follow-up nutritional care. Regular visits with a knowledgeable dietitian are especially appealing to Kennedy because she thinks it would give her now pre-teen daughter someone she could trust to discuss the gluten-free diet challenges teenagers face, something she might not talk about with her mother.

“I’m glad researchers did this study,” Kennedy said, noting that at the very least it acknowledges the complexity of celiac disease and the gluten-free diet. “When my doctor diagnosed me, he said, ‘Go on the diet and I’ll see you in a year.’ People need to understand it is not as easy as it sounds.”


Gluten in Drug Products and Associated USFDA Labeling Recommendations.

Frank Massong, VP Government & Regulatory, Allergen Control Group Inc.

For many years, the celiac community has been advocating for more accurate labeling of the gluten content in foods, oral drugs and other similar products where gluten could be added and thereafter consumed. The good news is that USFDA is finally addressing the fears of persons with the medical conditions of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity beyond just food via their publication of a draft guidance entitled “Gluten in Drug Products and Associated Labeling Recommendations”.

The intent of the guidance document is to provide manufacturers of oral drugs with direction to help them voluntarily present more information for this special and very real consumer need. This guidance affects only oral drugs, excluding natural health products and dietary supplements, but includes topical drug products applied to or near the lips (e.g. lip sunscreens) and drug products applied inside the mouth (e.g. cold sore treatments, drugs delivered to or via the oral cavity). This makes sense when one considers the pathology of the medical concern being, that no gluten is consumed at all or daily ingestion amounts of between 10-40 mg are not exceeded.

In USFDA guidance, they encourage and recommend drug manufacturers wishing to make voluntary statements about gluten content on labels or on inserts to use the statement “Contains no ingredient made from a gluten-containing grain (wheat, barley, or rye)” and not the more commonly heard statement “gluten-free” which is recognized as applying to food. The manufacturer would need to know and be able to prove to the USFDA if asked, presumably through their required Pharmaceutical Quality System, that this is true, and that no ingredient was derived directly or indirectly from wheat, barley, rye or their hybrids. The USFDA wisely makes a special case about highly processed (e.g. fermented) ingredients either derived from wheat starch or from starch of unknown botanical origin which could be contaminated with gluten. Detection of gluten after fermentation is technically difficult but possible. There is no mention of ingredients which have been subjected to hydrolyzation which have the same difficulty.

Laudably, the above gluten statement is intended to provide health care professionals and consumers with consistent, clear, accurate, and readily understood information about the gluten content of the pharmaceutical products they prescribe and use. Furthermore, the phrase facilitates easy searching for terms such as “gluten” and “wheat.” Regrettably, this is only a small win for the celiac community as the guidance is voluntary for manufacturers.

Consider the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA), where a declaration of any wheat added to a food is mandatory and if undeclared, any detected residue could be subject to a recall. Or similarly, consider the Gluten-Free Food Labeling Final Rule of 2013 which equates gluten-free declarations to meaning freedom from wheat, rye, barley or any hybrids. Both FALCPA and the gluten-free rules administered by the food groups in USFDA are intended to protect the public and go further than the USFDA’s guidance for gluten in drug products which applies only to oral drugs to achieve a reasonable level of consumer protection and safety.

Unfortunately, the USFDA guidance seems to discourage the recognizable term “gluten-free” because they “have not established criteria for gluten-free statements on oral drug products, and it may be difficult to substantiate that a drug product is free of gluten”. Also, they are not aware of “analytical test methods currently validated to detect or quantify gluten in finished drug products or in drug ingredients at the low levels at which it would generally be expected to be present, if at all” and they “have not determined whether a gluten-free statement on oral drug products should refer to an absence of intact gluten or whether such a statement should also require an absence of gluten peptides”. “I think that the USFDA drug people need to talk to their food colleagues who have figured it out and overcome the same policy and technical issues for the same objective. Otherwise, USFDA’s path to relevant action to help the celiac consumer will be a long one”.


Understanding Food Safety Investigation and Recall Process.

FigureFigure courtesy of CFIA

The food safety investigation and recall process is initiated when there is reason to believe that a contaminated food can or has reached the marketplace. The process is managed by the following regulatory agencies:

  • USA
    • USFDA (all foods and drugs excluding the following exceptions)
    • USDA (meat, poultry and processed egg products)
      Alcohol, Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau a.k.a. TTB (all alcoholic beverages, spirits and wine)
  • Canada
    • CFIA with support by Health Canada (all foods, including alcoholic beverages, spirits and wine)

There are several triggers that start a food safety investigation. Some of these could be stimulated by activities by government regulating agencies such as findings during surveillance inspections or test results from targeted surveys. Also, external sources can be drivers such as a detected pattern of reported illnesses (e.g. Public Health Agency Canada or the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention), voluntary manufacturer or distributor notifications, information coming from other foreign inspection agencies and consumer complaints.

The single leading cause of food product investigations and recalls continues to be the presence of undeclared allergens and the resultant misbranding of products. When conducting regular food safety inspections, CFIA, USFDA and USDA are increasingly focused on allergen control failures within food facilities and this will likely reveal more labeling problems which lead to additional investigations and recalls.

A food safety investigation includes inspection and related activities to verify if there is a food safety hazard and to determine the nature and extent of the problem. The regulatory agencies do the health risk assessment of the identified hazard(s) whether physical (e.g. glass), biological (e.g. listeria) or chemical (e.g. undeclared allergen such as wheat). Using this tool, the regulator determines the most appropriate action, including whether or not a recall is warranted or some other actions. If a recall is determined to be necessary, a decision is made on what class to assign to the recall: Class I (high risk), Class II (moderate risk) or Class III (low and no risk) and immediately communicates this to the public and other affected national and foreign stakeholders. For the sake of speed, regulatory agencies utilized multi-media and may be used simultaneously right up to direct and individual persons by email if they request it.

The regulatory agencies’ top priority is timely and effective response to prevent or reduce the impact of any food safety emergency. This can be a complex, deductive process requiring the interaction of many stakeholders. This includes not only rapid communication but also follow up action to ensure containment and withdrawal are effected, and any needed improvements at the manufacturing level are enacted by those responsible to prevent a recurrence. Note that the majority of recalls have no reported illnesses.

The regulatory agencies respond to thousands of reported incidents each year resulting in food safety investigations of which less than 10 % result in an actual recall. Of these, the vast majority are voluntary and precautionary in nature. However, all regulatory agencies reserve the right to force a recall when the public is judged to be at risk and could initiate other enforcement actions (e.g. the courts) as well. However, a mandated recall is a rare occurrence as manufacturers see this as a valuable process and credible risk communication tool if needed. The result is to ultimately reduce business and brand risk by showing due diligence and fast reaction. Having a strong management system with good traceability of inputs and finished products will reduce the scope of the damage that a recall might induce. Undoubtedly, the mandating of preventative controls in both Canada and the USA will level the playing field between and strengthen all the links, domestic and foreign, in the food chain.

Everyone playing their part helps make the Canadian and USA food safety system the best in the world, protecting consumers and businesses alike. If you need any assistance, please let us know.

requirementsTRAINING UPDATE:

ACG Increases Ease of Access to Mandatory Food Safety Training for Manufacturers

Food safety, food fraud and food security continue to be growing concerns in North America as demonstrated by the 764 food recalls that occurred in 2016. As a result, there is a continued increase in new and better voluntary food safety management system initiatives, including mandatory government requirements, such as the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and the Safe Food for Canadians Act.

Food manufacturers and importers of record are now totally accountable for all the risks and associated liabilities of producing safe and legal food. However, initially getting up to speed and then following new regulations and best practices can be time consuming and costly for manufacturers to implement, not to mention a challenge when trying to affect a culture change throughout the organization. To support food manufacturers in meeting mandatory annual employee prerequisite training requirements founded on good preventative manufacturing practices (GMPs), Toronto-based Allergen Control Group Inc. (ACG) now offers quick, convenient and cost effective online food safety training modules for frontline employees.

Convenient mini-modules allow busy frontline employees to quickly and conveniently learn content and check their understanding by completing a short quiz. This means supervisors and managers, no longer need to pull employees off the floor as training content can be consumed during gaps in busy work schedules. Managers can affordably view employee results and track team progress, internally. Each brief module will introduce a relevant topic ranging from managing allergens, cleaning, record keeping and pest management to risk assessment, HACCP and food defense.

Jessica Burke, Manager of Compliance and Technical Services for the Allergen Control Group says that “[the] online training modules have been designed to deliver basic food safety concepts in as little as 10 minutes and to foster employee engagement. The fact that they are delivered electronically allows users to start and stop as needed and learn at their own pace, while also allowing the company to avoid unnecessary interruptions to normal production”.

ACG has launched eight initial mini-modules, with new modules being added each month. Modules can be subscribed to on an individual basis, or at a discount when subscribed to as part of an available corporate training portal. Ranging from a basic package, which provides access to 3 modules for 15 users, to the Unlimited Package, there is something for companies of all sizes to optimize their workforce performance and manage frontline employee training within the corporate training portal. Custom packages are also available by contacting

“As owners of the Gluten-Free Certification Program (GFCP), ACG is committed to helping our clients be pro-active, reduce risk and protect their brand.” says Paul Valder, president and CEO of the Allergen Control Group, Inc.

For further details visit


A Special Invitation for GFCP Customers.

CCAThe Canadian Celiac Association (CCA) is hosting their Annual National Conference on June 9th, 2018 at the Shaw Centre in Ottawa, Ontario and are offering sponsorship opportunities for companies that provide Gluten-Free products and services.

As the CCA has a large number of followers (including customers and final users), participating as a sponsor is a great showcase and can potentially open new business opportunities for your brand.

Also taking place at the event, Frank Massong, VP, Government & Regulatory for the Allergen Control Group, on behalf of the Canadian Celiac Association, will present the recent stakeholder progress resulting from the funding received from Canada’s Growing Forward 2, AgriMarketing- Assurance Systems stream, designed to help increase awareness and enhance access to Canadian sources of gluten-free grains.

Please view the full invitation here and do not hesitate to contact if you have further questions.


TUVACG Welcomes TUV USA, Inc. As An Approved Third Party GFCP Auditing Company.

TUV USA, Inc. and the Allergen Control Group Inc. (ACG) are proud to announce TUV USA’s induction into the Gluten-Free Certification Program (GFCP) as a newly trained and approved third party auditing and certification company. As a trusted supplier of valuable food safety assessments, TUV USA is pleased at the opportunity to broaden their food safety competence. TUV USA and ACG share a common goal – Making the World Safer. This partnership solidifies the commitment to this goal.

The GFCP is the leading science-based certification program for brand owners wishing to make a safe and reliable gluten-free product claim and is focused exclusively on annual certification of a site’s internal manufacturing and gluten management system to complement end-product testing. The GFCP provides unique gluten-free brand building opportunities in partnership with North America’s most credible consumer-facing celiac organizations, Beyond Celiac in the USA and the Canadian Celiac Association (CCA) in Canada.

“We are happy to collaborate with ACG to administer GFCP Audits to our customers.” said TUV USA’s Food Safety Project Manager, Ashley Smejkal. “It gives me great pride to offer this service to our customers.”


OrionOrion Partners with Eurofins to Expand Auditing and Certification Services.

“Orion Assessment Services expressed interest in being able to provide certification services in the food industry under our accreditation to Canada and other parts of the world and we are happy to partner with them in this endeavor,” said Gary Smith, Director of Eurofins Food Safety Systems.

The partnership will allow Eurofins to broaden their BRC Global Standards and GFSI scheme auditing resource base and provide them additional expertise in BRC to utilize. It will also allow Orion Assessment Services to operate under the Eurofins accreditation for BRC, SQF and FSSC 22000 schemes.

“For our existing food clients, we see this as a fantastic opportunity to be able to offer them a ‘one stop shop’ for all of their food certification needs,” said Aaron Campbell, Vice-President of Orion Agri-Food Safety.

Orion Assessment Services currently offers services for the Gluten Free Certification program, GMP and HACCP audits, as well as gap assessments across North America. In 2017, with demand from new and existing clients, they decided to expand their existing portfolio to offer GFSI audits. Orion Assessment Services has thousands of customers around the world bearing various ISO standards.

As a certification body, this collaboration will enhance the standards currently offered through Orion Assessment Services’ accreditation for ISO 17065 and ISO 17021, as well as offering brand new opportunities in the various GFSI schemes, for both existing and new clients internationally.

Eurofins has similar regional partnership agreements with other parts of the world, like Chile and New Zealand, who work under their accreditation.

“Having met with the Eurofins dedicated food safety team, I was impressed with their knowledge, professionalism, passion, desire to grow but not at the expense of service delivery to existing customers and by how much they value their employees and contractors,” Campbell said.

“Our Eurofins team looks forward to partnering with Orion Assessment Services and making new connections with segments of the food industry together,” Smith said.


What Are Consumers Saying?

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Meet Us Face-to-Face At Upcoming Events.

If you are planning to attend any of the following events and are an existing GFCP brand or manufacturer requiring additional marketing support, please let us know prior to the show so we can discuss the details and try to deliver on your marketing needs. If you are thinking about applying to the GFCP or would like more information, we would welcome the opportunity to set up a convenient time to meet before or at the event with one of our Business Development people. Please contact Natalie Santos to set-up a meeting time.



GFCP Industry, Consultant & Auditor Training in Sydney, Australia.



RC Show 2018 | Canada’s Largest Foodservice Trade Event.

Industry ParticipationACG spent 3 days at Restaurant Canada’s RC Show 2018, February 25-27, experiencing the future of food service. The event showcases cutting-edge products, pioneering people and transformative ideas that will empower you to grow your business and deliver remarkable guest experiences.

It was a jam packed schedule visiting 1000+ exhibits within 8 themed pavilions, listening to industry speakers and attending seminars and interactive demos. Along the way we saw some familiar faces including Registered Dietitian and featured Speaker Shelley Case and customers; Kinnikinnick, Ste. Anne’s Bakery, Avena, Italpasta, Primo, Mi & Stu, Toppits, Dare, HB Specialty Foods and Brandt.


Cloud 9 Specialty Bakery: How Hard Could That Be?

Cloud 9Let’s just say that taking the beginnings of an idea to become an internationally recognized and trusted supplier is a daunting task – especially in a brand-new market segment.

Cloud 9 Specialty Bakery started with a simple concept: Gluten-free without compromising taste and texture. How hard could that be?

Founder, Ray Porcellato, was already creating gourmet marshmallows in a variety of flavours that were delicious and had a gluten-free call-out on the packaging.

And then an associate offered him a gluten-free cookie…

Let’s just say that Ray did not fully ingest what he expected to be a great cookie. In fact, it was so distressing that he literally found an opportunity to make the world a better place. He searched for all kinds of gluten-free products trying more than he cares to remember only to discover that nothing was palatable.

Ray comes by his pallet honestly as his mother is a master baker. Between the two of them, they created what is now the foundation of everything Cloud 9. The flour they created could virtually be used for any type of baking to replace wheat flour for those who wanted an exceptional gluten free flour option to use at home.

The only challenge was to show people that they could use this flour and make delicious everything including breads, muffins, cakes, cookies, pizza shells, bars, pies, and well, you get the idea. So, what better place to showcase this than our own bakery? The only “real” hurdle was cross contamination with anything wheat. And how hard could that be?

This was when Ray partnered up with his friend, Mike Betcher of B3 Communications, who had been helping with his packaging and branding for his international marshmallow business. Together they created a retail bakery to showcase Ray’s creations and to prove that the flour worked.

Cloud 9 was then introduced to the BC Chapter of the Canadian Celiac Association – a dedicated group of celiacs who were committed to ensuring that what was professed as gluten-free, was in fact, gluten-free. At that time, there was talk of a gluten-free certification standard which manufacturing facilities could implement, but it was still in its infancy. We committed to the chapter that we would become certified to ensure our quality and safety. And, how hard could that be?

Our biggest challenge, was producing our unique flour in a certified facility, and there just wasn’t any to be found in Canada and only one we could find in California. And while Cloud 9 started with the California plant, we quickly decided that it only made sense to build our own blending and packing facility. And how hard could that be?

Thus, began our journey to become a blending and packaging facility certified in the Gluten-Free Certification Program (GFCP). From the outset, we knew that we had to be a credible manufacturer to not only satisfy our retail and wholesale customers, but ultimately to ensure that when a celiac used our products, they were safe – guaranteed!

We’re Number 2!

Starting from scratch is both a blessing and a curse. However, with the right talent, we built the second certified gluten-free dry mix blending and packaging facility in Burnaby BC. And while we were not the first – congratulations goes out to PBF Pita Bread Factory – we’re proud to be Number 2.

The Allergen Control Group guided us through the process that would ultimately provide Cloud 9 their approval. And, how hard could that be?

Truthfully, when two like-minded organizations work together, the path to success is very smooth. Cloud 9 and the Allergen Control Group, worked as partners with the goal of creating a foundation would ensure quality, controls and safety for our consumers.

We’re International!

Certification in the GFCP means that we’re the real deal. Cloud 9’s plant is Gluten-Free Certified, Costco Certified, Kosher and Organic Certified. We have shipped our products around the world as well as across this continent. And how hard could that be?

And while we created this facility for us, we wanted to share our experience with other brands to continue to grow gluten-free options for consumers. We’re open for co-pack business and specialize in small to medium run batches for those looking to get into this market.

We’re proud to be a trusted international manufacturer and even prouder to be Number 2! To learn more visit



GFCP Quick Reference Guide Now Available Online!

Download a copy of the Gluten-Free Certification Program Quick Reference Guide e-book today. This handy pocket sized guide is full of useful information for anyone wishing to learn more about the program including manufacturers, brand owners, consultants, auditors and more.
Topics include: Program Accreditation, Trademarks & Partners, What is Celiac Disease & Gluten, Questionable Food & Ingredients, Testing, Roadmap to Certification, Applying to the Program, Types of Audits & Facilities, Self-Evaluation Checklist, Oats, Approved CB’s, Consultants & Labs, Definitions and Helpful Links! Download Now