Gluten-free audits and gluten analysis
Testing your products for gluten
There are several methods for testing the gluten content of food. These include laboratory based tests or rapid tests that can be conducted in the factory.
The technology of gluten testing continues to develop and recent advances mean that tests are becoming much more sensitive.
The recommended method of analysis, approved by the Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling (CCMAS), is the R5-sandwich ELISA (Mendez method). This method detects the prolamins from wheat, rye and barley.
Some fermented products like beers contain hydrolysed gluten. For the detection of hydrolysed gluten the recommended test is the competitive R5 ELISA method.
It is recommended that you use a UKAS accredited laboratory for testing. You can find an accredited laboratory by visiting the UKAS website.
Auditing options for gluten-free production
From January 2017 all Crossed Grain symbol licencees must meet the audit requirements of the AOECS. There are currently two options for audits available:
BRC Global Standards published BRC Global Standard for Food Safety Voluntary Module 12 AOECS Standard for Gluten-free Foods on 12 September 2016. You can find out more about the module on the BRC website and download a copy from the BRC bookshop.
If you have a BRC audit scheduled and would like to add Voluntary Module 12 to your next visit, contact your Certification Body and ask for the Module to be added to your next audit.
For companies without BRC certification
An audit is available for companies who do not have BRC certification from SGS. This is a standalone audit specifically developed to audit the requirements of the AOECS Standard for licensing of the Crossed Grain symbol. It covers gluten-free production from suppliers through to packaging and transportation. Further information is available on the SGS website.
If you are considering BRC certification there are a number of Certification Bodies that are able to carry out the BRC food safety audit along with Voluntary Module 12. You can search for a Certification Body on the BRC Directory.