Millions of customers with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity (“gluten sensitivity”) are looking for an easy and trusted way to identify gluten-free foods. Manufacturers worldwide are looking for a third-party endorsement to signal their dedication to gluten-free safety.
The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness endorsed Gluten-Free Certification Program (GFCP) is a solution to those needs.
The GFCP is a voluntary certification program designed to differentiate trusted gluten-free products from the increasing clutter of gluten-free claims in the marketplace by displaying the NFCA certification trademark. Based on a robust third-party audit certification process at the manufacturing facility, the GFCP verifies their ability to regularly meet stringent requirements, when managing gluten as part of their food safety programs.
The GFCP is a North American solution, using a single process to certify products for distribution in the US and Canada.
The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) is a US-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that drives diagnosis of celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders and improves the quality of life for those on a lifelong gluten-free diet. Learn more at www.CeliacCentral.org.
|What is Celiac Disease?||Consumer Information||Two Countries, One Process|
|What is Gluten Sensitivity?||Why is the GFCP needed?||Manufacturers and Retailers: FAQ|
|What is the Gluten-Free Diet?||List of GFCP Certified Products||Contact|
- Patricia Libling, PatsyPie Gluten-Free Bakery
GFCP was developed by the Canadian Celiac Association (CCA) and launched in May 2011. It has been successfully certifying products and protecting gluten-free consumers in Canada since May 2012. By partnering with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA), the GFCP now extends its reach across borders and enables consumer packaged products to be certified gluten-free in both the US and Canada through a single certification process.
On August 2, 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a standard definition for "gluten-free" labeling of foods. As of August 5, 2014, this rule is now in effect and manufacturers using a gluten-free label on their packaging must comply with the FDA’s labeling rule.
Among the most commonly cited criteria, the FDA regulations require that a product labeled "gluten-free" contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. Manufacturers, therefore, are looking for ways to ensure that they meet this and other criteria for gluten-free labeling while affirming their commitment to the health and safety of gluten-free customers.
The Gluten-Free Certification Program (GFCP) offers consumer protection and guidance by requiring rigorous, annual audits to ensure the products it certifies are the result of good manufacturing practices and appropriate gluten-free protocols. The GFCP also goes above and beyond the FDA's standards for gluten-free products by requiring that manufacturers have validated gluten-free management systems that set a limit at less than 10 ppm and even lower if possible. This reduces the risk of recalls, ensures consistent gluten-free safety throughout the manufacturing process, and provides additional assurance to consumers looking for a more rigorous standard.
When consumers see the NFCA trademark logo on a package of gluten-free food (which reflects that it has been approved through the GFCP), they can know that the product not only meets the FDA standard, but also that the brand has taken extensive strides to ensure that product is safe from start to finish.
The Gluten-Free Certification Program (GFCP) provides several benefits for consumers with celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders.
The most important attribute is the strength of the program itself. The GFCP is a management system based certification, which combines good manufacturing practices for the production of gluten-free products with internationally recognized and proven food safety standards. What this means is that the program does not rely on end-product testing to ensure safety, but the entire production process of the facility—from ingredient sourcing, employee training, to cleaning practices, cross-contamination controls, operational management and, finally, an effective end-to-end testing plan.
The GFCP approves only those facilities and their products that continually meet strict, good manufacturing practices for gluten-free production. Certification audits are conducted annually by trained and approved, independent ISO accredited auditing companies. Products that earn certification bear NFCA's clear and easy-to-recognize certification seal on their packaging. This third party relationship is a critical and defining part of the GFCP, as it eliminates any conflict of interest between the manufacturer's relationship with the program, its certifying bodies and/or the NFCA.
By offering a single certification standard for products in the US and Canada, the Gluten-Free Certification Program will help to grow the gluten-free market in North America. At the same time, it ensures that certified products meet the regulatory guidelines in the US and in Canada. For consumers, that means more selection, greater clarity, and an easier way to find those safe and trusted products.
For more information on the Gluten-Free Certification Program, please contact: