We have several new policies and procedures to ensure that our gluten-free products remain gluten-free to a level below 20 parts per million (ppm), (i.e. each bread does not contain more than 20 ppm). This is also the standard that is accepted by Codex* as the allowable limit to make a gluten-free claim. Also, presently this is the level that the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) is enforcing for gluten-free claims.
We have built our business reputation on integrity in several dimensions relating to health and ecology. As a small bakery using organic ingredients, we are very familiar with proper sourcing and tracking. Much of this experience transfers well to gluten-free production. We are a small business with very low turnover and a lot of experience. We are conscientious and understand the need for attention to detail.
Outlined below are the specific steps we take to maintain our gluten-free integrity:
GLUTEN-FREE SOURCING – Only purchasing ingredients from tested gluten-free sources. All ingredients for gluten-free production are sourced from reliable gluten-free sources. Some ingredients such as raisins, olive oil or salt are gluten-free by their nature, as they are grown, processed and packaged in a gluten-free environment. All primary ingredients including grains, flours or material to produce flour and flax meal are tested for the presence of gluten for every lot number we use. This testing is either done on our premises or supplied from a producer who follows their own strict gluten-free protocol – where they do their own testing. If any potential ingredient tests positive for more than 10 ppm we will not use it.
TESTING – We test our ingredients in-house, as needed using the EZ Gluten Test from Elisa Technologies. This is a simple kit that allows us to determine if a sample is below 10 ppm. Also we test randomly using this same kit on our finished products to verify the gluten-free integrity of the finished products.
SEPARATE EQUIPMENT – Contact surfaces, in the form of containers or equipment, are in most cases entirely separate, such as bread pans, trays, flour bins, flour scoops, oven gloves, and cooling screens. If the containers or equipment are shared with regular production such as mixing tubs or weigh scales, then they are thoroughly washed before transitioning to gluten-free production. Interestingly, gluten-free breads have no dough to develop – since gluten is integral to making dough – therefore, we are able to mix the gluten-free mixes entirely by hand and avoid the use of commercial dough mixers.