Food: imminent guarantees for products claiming to be gluten-free

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A growing number of food manufacturers are offering gluten-free products for people suffering from gluten intolerance. However, their claims that their products are gluten-free do not carry the same weight as an independent inspection. AFNOR Certification will soon be authorized to audit manufacturers, so that they can display the “crossed grain” logo on their products.

Did you know? Coeliac disease, or gluten intolerance, is a digestive illness that is currently reported to affect 1 % of the French population (of which only 10 to 20 % have been diagnosed). Until such time as a cure is found, the only solution available to consumers is to remove gluten from their diet.

Consumers do not always find it easy to cope with such restrictions in everyday life. Therefore, it is both logical and urgent to help consumers easily identify gluten-free products.

A State-recognized distinction

AOECS (Association of European Coeliac Societies) works alongside manufacturers and healthcare professionals across Europe to identify gluten-free products and provide consumers with objective and impartial reassurance. AFDIAG (French Association of Gluten Intolerance) is a member of AOECS and issues the crossed grain symbol.

AFNOR Certification will soon be authorized to perform this service, which involves conducting audits to the AOECS standard and in accordance with the Codex Alimentarius, which has stipulated a residual gluten threshold of less than 20 mg/kg. The focus is mainly on controlling the risks of gluten contamination during the product manufacturing process, as well as good hygiene and manufacturing practices, and requires the use of the HACCP approach.

The HACCP approach, or Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, is a system that defines, evaluates and controls the hazards threatening food safety according to the Codex Alimentarius, ” explains David Fournel, a specialized auditor at AFNOR Certification. “The approach is based on seven principles that are designed to enable stakeholders at any stage of the food chain to guarantee a high level of protection for consumers. In broader terms, HACCP is a regulatory requirement that is incorporated into the hygiene package [editor: all the laws and regulations governing food safety], which defines the food safety rules and which operators must satisfy. ”

Find out more on gluten-free certification

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