SCS Gluten-Free Certification
Utilizing modern auditing techniques to empower safe consumer choices
What is SCS Gluten-Free Certification?
Gluten intolerance afflicts millions of people. Up to 18% of the global population suffers from some level of gluten sensitivity, while 1 out of 100 people have celiac disease, which compromises the body’s ability to digest gluten and can lead to debilitating illness. Gluten-Free certification enables food brands to reach these individuals, facilitating sound and safe food choices.
SCS Global Services Gluten-Free Standard certifies foods and beverages to requirements that are stricter than Codex, USA, Canada, the EU and many other country standards. For instance, while the Codex standards, developed by the World Health Organization and UN Food and Agriculture Organization, allow up to 20 parts per million of gluten, SCS Gluten-Free certification requires that foods meet a standard twice that strict – no more than 10 parts per million.
Using modern auditing techniques to ensure proper testing and reporting, SCS gluten-free auditors provide risk-based onsite and virtual audits depending on facility type and need. With a focus on best-in-class testing practices, SCS gluten-free audits test products, ingredients and equipment used for processing, and auditor supervised testing results are achieved using ISO accredited labs or AOAC certified test kits.
Why Choose SCS?
As a leading global certification body (CB) with nearly 40 years of auditing and certification experience, SCS is known for its testing methodologies, data verification and recordkeeping, and stringent auditing protocols. SCS works with companies to reduce liabilities and provide clear and accurate adherence to certification standards so customers, consumers and investors can be assured that companies and products are accurately portraying their adherence to standard certification protocols. We hold the companies we certify to the highest standards of compliance and reporting. We require remediation of all certification standard non-conformities in order for a company and its products to remain gluten-free certified.
In addition, with SCS’ myriad food labeling certifications, companies can bundle other services such as USDA Organic, Non-GMO, Food Safety and other certifications for additional convenience and cost savings.
- Program Documents
Why do I need Gluten-Free Certification?
Gluten-intolerant individuals and those with celiac disease cannot rely on allergen-free products that only address wheat. There are many lesser-known sources of gluten, such as rye, barley, triticale, spelt, farina, kamut, farro, and couscous. SCS Gluten-Free accounts for these, and any potential vectors for introduction into the supply chain. Backed with finished product and raw material testing, SCS Gluten-Free is a process-based certification that uses proven and trusted methodologies to ensure consumers receive products that meet the most restrictive gluten-free requirements available.
Does my facility require an on-site inspection?
Facilities that are dedicated to the production of gluten-free foods and do not allow gluten-containing ingredients or oats within the facility are eligible for a virtual inspection. Facilities that use gluten-containing ingredients or oats in non-certified products in the facility will require an on-site inspection by an SCS auditor to ensure segregation and clean-out procedures are adequate and being followed.
How is SCS Global Services Gluten-Free standard different than other Gluten-Free standards such as GFCO, GFCP and NSF?
SCS’ gluten-free standard has some requirements that are stricter than Codex, USA, Canada, the EU and many other country standards. For instance, while the Codex standards, developed by the World Health Organization and UN Food and Agriculture Organization, allow up to 20 parts per million of gluten, SCS Gluten-Free certification requires that foods meet a standard twice that strict – no more than 10 parts per million. In our years of gluten-free certification, we have found that some standards often put unnecessary hurdles in the way of audits while not necessarily focused on areas of higher risk. As a risk-based certification, SCS looks at all operations, determines the risk of contamination, and then determines whether a virtual or onsite audit is required. We also look at all ingredients used in production, not solely at whether or not a facility handles gluten.
We are a US company and want to make sure we are following FDA regulations. Does the SCS gluten-free certification provide us with that assurance?
Yes. In fact, US FDA rerulations do not require 3rd party certification or validation and provide no direction on which certification protocol or testing model to follow. This leaves room for self-made labeling claims, which are often times not reliable. SCS gluten-free certification assures that the auditing and testing are done correctly and labeling claims are accurate.
How are SCS Gluten-Free audits different from other gluten-free standard audits?
First of all, not all of SCS audits are onsite. Some are virtual based on many variables at the facility. SCS also focuses on best-in-class testing practices, making sure clients are not only testing, but testing correctly, using ISO certified labs and AOAC certified test kits that help us ensure greater testing accuracy. We follow up on all testing protocols, keep testing on schedule, and provide year-over-year review so that there is a compendium of data to clearly show that all certification criteria was consistently met to ensure the safety of consumers.
Do all of our products have to be Gluten-Free in order to get certified, or can individual products be certified Gluten-Free?
No, all products at your facility do not have to be gluten-free, as long as they are labeled correctly and there is no cross contamination with the certified gluten-free products.
We are a facility that does not handle gluten, but we would like to get certified. Does SCS have to come onsite to do the auditing?
No, for facilities that do not handle gluten, SCS can certify based on a virtual audit.
What is SCS’ role in safe food labeling?
SCS is a certification body that carries out the rigorous audits and assessments required for food and beverage products to be certified under the SCS Gluten-Free Certification label. SCS offers a full suite of globally-recognized food and agricultural services under well-known certification labels such as Sustainably Grown®, USDA Organic, Non-GMO Verified, GlobalGAP, SQF, Fair Trade USA, EFI, and more. In addition, we provide training and professional consultation services. SCS is ISO-17065 certified by the ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB).
As a certifier, our job is to apply rigorous auditing and testing requirements. As a solutions partner, our goal is to work with our customers to ensure that you get the most out of your certification experience.
Certification benefits you by:
- Providing assurance to consumers that your products meet the strictest gluten-free standard
- Satisfying your retail and restaurant customers that your products meet the dietary restrictions of their patrons
- Provide assurance to international clients by certifying to various international gluten-free thresholds
Companies can pursue gluten free certification alone or efficiently combine it with other product certifications to satisfy a broad range of customer specifications and consumer market demand.
- Complete Application
First, fill out the SCS application form to receive a complimentary quote.
- Submit Documentation
Submit required documentation for your products, ingredients, and facilities.
- Documentation Review
SCS technical staff reviews your documentation, evaluates risk of ingredients and facilities, and communicates gluten testing requirements.
- On-Site Inspection
On-site plant audits (when required) are conducted to ensure that gluten-free ingredients and products can be produced in full conformance with the standard, without unintended contamination, and to collect product samples for gluten analysis.
SCS evaluates adherence to the risk-based sampling and testing plan prescribed, verifying that approved test kit or laboratory testing clearly demonstrates compliance with the SCS Standard’s strict limit of 10 ppm gluten.
SCS produces a report detailing the outcome of the audit. If any nonconformities are identified, SCS can advise on corrective actions.
If your product meets the Standard’s criteria, you are issued a certificate of compliance valid for one year and are permitted to use the “SCS Gluten-Free” seal on product packaging in accordance with the SCS Label and Language Guide.
Annual evaluation and ongoing testing are required to maintain SCS Gluten-Free certification status.
Ready to start the process? Complete an Application.