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Licensing the Crossed Grain symbol

The Crossed Grain symbol is widely recognised by members of international coeliac organisations and a high proportion of non coeliac, but gluten intolerant, consumers as a source of trust and reassurance that a product is safe to eat. Our Europe wide licensing system means that one trademark license gives producers and retailers the right to use the Crossed Grain trademark on their gluten free sales in over 30 European countries.

The Crossed Grain symbol

The Crossed Grain symbol is a registered trademark and protected across the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and Bosnia Herzegovina.

The symbol provides buyers with a quick reference point whilst out shopping. This is particularly important when the consumer is unsure on the gluten status of a product, or whilst travelling and unable to understand the language in which the label is displayed. It is a quality and safety guarantee as all producers wishing to use it must conform to high and safe standards of production.

Manufacturers and retailers will have a distinct commercial advantage in this competitive market as the symbol can only be used under license. This applies to food and drink products that meet the criteria of the AOECS Standard. The Crossed Grain symbol may be used on packaging, promotional materials, signage and corporate literature directly related to the licensed products and can be displayed in any colour.

Duration and costs of the license are determined individually by each of our Member societies. The license fee will vary according to the turnover of the gluten free products listed in the license. All laboratory and audit testing for products to be licensed need to be carried out by accredited establishments and retested on an annual basis.

Our Member societies have licensed over 9,000 gluten free products that are safe to eat, see page Gluten Free Products under License for more information.

The use of this trademark protected symbol is strictly monitored by AOECS and its Member societies. This is done by subscribing to a worldwide trademark watch service which notifies us of any attempts to register this trademark, or indeed trademarks sufficiently similar to the Crossed Grain symbol, so that they can be challenged. If a company or producer continues with the unauthorised use of the symbol, opposition proceedings may be initiated.

For more information on obtaining a license for the use of the Crossed Grain symbol, please contact els@aoecs.org.

Benefits of licensing the Crossed Grain symbol under a European license

The most outstanding advantage is that with only one license you are permitted to use the symbol on all of your exports throughout the entire AOECS territory. This territory is the area in which AOECS Member societies are located, for a full list see our Member societies.

Other benefits of licensing the Crossed Grain symbol include:

  • use of the symbol on all approved product packaging, marketing, website, point of sales and promotions.
  • having a distinct symbol of recognition and thereby giving your products the edge in a competitive market
  • some of our Member societies have developed their own benefit packages, such as automatic entry into their gluten free directories and advertising in their publications.

Products that can use the Crossed Grain symbol

The Crossed Grain symbol can only be licensed for multiple ingredient and/or processed products. Your products must meet a range of criteria to ensure that they are gluten free, both in terms of the ingredients and the production process.

The license issuer will need to see evidence of gluten free quality in the form of test results from a recognised laboratory. It is recommended that you use an internationally accredited laboratory for testing. You can find an accredited laboratory on the European Co-operation for Accreditation website.

In addition, a yearly audit of the manufacturing plant must be carried out to ensure gluten content is kept to maximum of 20ppm at any stage of the manufacturing process. The audit must be carried out by an auditor qualified according to the standards set by the AOECS, for example an auditor qualified to audit the BRC’s Global Standard for Food Safety Issue 7. For more information, see the AOECS Standard.

Products that cannot use the Crossed Grain symbol

Products cannot be licensed if they are composed of a single ingredient or are unprocessed in nature. For example, fresh fruit and vegetables cannot be licensed as they are naturally gluten free; but fruit bars can be licensed as they have undergone a process which may hold a risk for cross contamination.

For a full list of products that are not permitted to display the Crossed Grain symbol please see Appendix One of the AOECS Standard.

See Frequently Asked Questions