Gluten Free Certification
How do we classify gluten-free?
The term 'gluten free' is covered by EU legislation under Regulation (EU) 828/2014 for the labelling of gluten free foods. Based on the Codex Alimentarius Standard for gluten free, the law stipulates that only foods containing a maximum of 20 parts per million (ppm) gluten content or less can be labelled as gluten free. This applies to both packaged foods and foods sold in restaurants and other catering establishments.
Specialist substitute gluten free products like breads, flours and crackers as well as processed foods that are naturally gluten free can display the term 'gluten free' on their packaging. It may also be used for oat products, which are often packaged in same areas as gluten containing products and must therefore be uncontaminated in order to display the symbol. The oats must not contain more than 20ppm gluten content to be labelled 'gluten free'.
The Crossed Grain Trademark
The Crossed Grain Trademark (CGT) is a globally registered trademark and can only be used under licence on food and drink products that meet the AOECS standard. Amongst coeliac consumers, the CGT is seen as the most important means of letting them know that a product is safe to eat.
Our member societies have licensed over 23,000 gluten free products that are safe to date. Use of this trademark is strictly monitored by AOECS and its member societies to ensure its integrity. For more information on obtaining a license for the use of the Crossed Grain symbol, please contact [email protected] or review our Frequently Asked Questions.Frequently asked questions
Benefits of using the Crossed Grain Trademark
- 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.
- 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.
- The trademark shows that the product has undergone an independent audit performed by a non-profit organisation, which increases the credibility of the label and for the products that carry it.
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.
The AOECS Gluten Free Standard
AOECS has developed a gluten free standard which serves as a guideline for producers and food safety auditing companies in the production of gluten free food products.
The AOECS Standard provides guidance and technical requirements to producers and food safety inspectors for the manufacture of gluten free products and a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point System (HACCP) to ensure that no contamination with gluten takes place at any stage during the manufacturing, packaging and storing processes. It also provides a clear description on the chemical composition of gluten as well as definitions on gluten containing grains.
Request to get a copy of the AOECS standard here.Request here
The AOECS Gluten-Free Addendum
The AOECS Gluten-Free Addendum Audit Program is an Audit Protocol. It is designed to cover all requirements and expectations within the current AOECS Standard when delivered in combination with a GFSI Benchmarked Food Safety Standard (GFSI Benchmarking Requirements Version 2020). These certification standards include BRCGS, IFS, FSSC 22000, and SQF.
Having an audit that combines the AOECS Gluten-Free Addendum with any of the GFSI Benchmarked Standards offers new opportunities to Food Business Operators and helps them to maximize efficiencies, whilst avoiding unnecessary duplication and costs. SGS has become the first globally approved Certification Body for the provision of the program. Other certification bodies will come soon.
If you are a certification body interested in conducting audits using the AOECS Gluten-Free Addendum Program, you need to contact the National Coeliac Society of your own country. They will walk you through the different steps to work with them.
Products that cannot use the Crossed Grain Trademark
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.