The Gluten-Free Food Program Launches GF-Smart Designation for Food Service and Hospitality Sectors

The Gluten-Free Food Program (GFFP), is pleased to announce the launch of GF-Smart, a gluten-free training program for the food service and hospitality industry. The GFSmart program and professional designation has been developed with the endorsements from the Canadian Celiac Association (CCA) and Québec-based Fondation québécoise de la maladie coeliaque (FQMC), Canada’s two authoritative voices for those living gluten-free. This program will serve to improve the dining-out options for those suffering from a gluten-related medical disorder by arming the food service and hospitality industry with standardized professional training and best practices to deliver safer, gluten-free food with confidence.

Over 25 million North Americans are eating gluten-free. Operators serving food on a commercial basis may at some time choose, or be required, to provide a gluten-free menu option. Gluten-free diners are looking for dining options that are safe, and often fear eating-out due to negative past experiences whereby lack of food handler knowledge increase the risks of consuming gluten accidentally. Bringing professional training, standards and handling specifications designed specifically for food services, GF-Smart benefits all segments of the industry committed to serving the gluten-free population, including restaurants, caterers, camps, hotels, convention centers, healthcare and educational institutions, cafés, and fast food outlets.

“Although the term gluten-free is widely used in the food service and hospitality sector, it is often misunderstood, unpredictably executed and an unreliable assurance of a safe dining experience”, states Karine Barlow, RD and Director of Industry Relations at GFFP. Until now, a national training standard that the industry in Canada could turn to has not been available. Now, and as part of their professional advancement, food handlers can learn about the importance of proper food handling and avoiding accidental contamination of gluten-free food by officially achieving a recognized designation. For food service and hospitality operators, GF-Smart functions as a strategic business partner by standardizing food handler training, thereby improving customer service, fostering staff engagement and reducing the risk of negative publicity for those establishments who employ GFSmart trained staff.

The Canadian Society for Nutrition Management (CSNM), the national association representing Food and Nutrition Managers across Canada, has adopted GF-Smart as part of their member curriculum. “Gluten-free diets, the safe procurement of food for these special diets, and most critical, the teaching and providing direction to our staff who work with gluten-free clients, are among the many facets of responsibilities of which our Members endure on a daily basis. We are thrilled to partner with GFFP to offer the GF-Smart program to our Members, and even more excited to include this course as part of CSNM’s Continuing Education Program, worth 1 Continuing Education (CE) credit for our Members.” Dave Lebert, CSNM Continuing Education Chair.

About the Gluten-Free Food Program (GFFP) The Gluten-Free Food Program Inc. is a privately held corporation which owns and operates the GF-Smart and GF-Verified programs, developed and managed with the endorsements of the Canadian Celiac Association and Québec-based Fondation québécoise de la maladie coeliaque, Canada’s two authoritative voices for those living gluten-free.

About the Canadian Celiac Association (CCA) The Canadian Celiac Association is the national voice for people who are adversely affected by gluten, and is dedicated to improving diagnosis and quality of life. Based in Mississauga, Ontario with 28 Chapters across the country, its mission includes advocacy, education, research and community support.

About the Fondation québécoise de la maladie coeliaque (FQMC) The Fondation québécoise de la maladie coelique, provides services and support to its members in French. Its mission is to improve the lives of people who are affected by celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity with information on the disease and the gluten-free diet.