New gluten-free food standards produced for the food service, hospitality sector now available to Celiac and gluten-free community

May 2, 2017. Mississauga, ON. The Canadian Celiac Association, Fondation québécoise de la maladie coeliaque, and Gluten-Free Food Program Inc. have joined forces to create and promote the new industry standard for the celiac community.

The Gluten-Free Food Program Inc. (GFFPI) is pleased to announce the launch of its GF-Smart™, GF-Verified™ and GF-Dedicated™ programs for the food service and hospitality industry. The Gluten Free Food Program (GFFP) 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 sector with standardized professional training, management systems and best practices.

Over 2.5 million Canadians are affected by gluten and need a consistent hospitality sector standard. Operators serving food on a commercial basis may choose or be required to provide a gluten-free menu option. The GFFPI has developed professional standards to serve the gluten-free population, including restaurants, caterers, camps, hotels, convention centers, healthcare and educational institutions, cafés, and fast food outlets.

“Gluten-free diners are looking for dining options that are safe,” says Anne Wraggett, CCA President. “They often fear eating out due to negative past experiences and lack of consistency throughout the hospitality sector, increasing the risks of consuming gluten accidentally. Our members will be excited to visit and support these outlets.”

Although the term gluten-free is widely used in the food service and hospitality sector, it is often misunderstood, unpredictably executed, and thus an unreliable assurance of a safe dining experience. 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 avoid accidental contamination of gluten-free food. 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 GF-Smart™ 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. Dave Lebert, CSNM Continuing Education Chair, says “Gluten-free diets, procurement of safe 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 one Continuing Education (CE) credit for our members.”

GF-Verified™ and GF-Dedicated™ standards have been created to ensure a consistent approach to internal management systems. From the purchase of ingredients, food storage, preparation, cooking, service, and delivery of gluten-free meals, GF-Verified™ denotes an establishment that provides both regular and gluten-free meals. GF-Dedicated™ indicates that all meals provided within the establishment are gluten free.

Our logos for the GF-Verified™ and GF-Dedicated™ programs will be displayed to indicate to the gluten-free community that an establishment has achieved the GFFP standards and in doing so has been externally audited by an independent auditor.

About 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™ and GF-Dedicated™ programs, developed and managed with the endorsement 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 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 chapters across the country, its mission includes advocacy, education, research and community support.

About Fondation québécoise de la maladie coeliaque (FQMC): The Fondation québécoise de la maladie coelique provides services and support to its members in the French language. 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.