Recommended Gluten-Free Protocols
Gluten contamination is highly likely if staff are and systems are not in place to eliminate the sources of their contamination. This technical guide will make you aware of contamination sources and how to minimise their risks.
- Display: Display of these items to be separated physically from other products
- Handling: When handling or serving, use separate tongs that are not coming in contact with anything containing gluten
- Storage: When storing the product keep separate from gluten containing items. Ideally you never want any gluten-containing flours or other airborne products to be opened around GF products.If they are the GF products must be fully packaged or there is very high likelihood of contaminationWhen removing and displaying use separate utensils, gloves, and make sure your clothes are not contaminated by gluten in any way.
- Personnel: Highest likely source of Gluten Contamination.Sources of contamination to keep in mind and eliminate:
- Mobile Phone Telephone: Highest likely source of contamination when in store, either sanitise your devices before you enter the operation or sanitise your hands before you handle product (best practice should eliminate the need for devices in production).
- Lunch Break: If you are consuming something with gluten, you must clean your hands, wrists, arms, face, and beard.Dedicated hand washing and separate changing facilities are key to reduce the risk to manageable levels.
- Protective Clothing: It is best to have a hair and face snood that will reduce likelihood of any flute-particles to contaminate product.All staff should wear food grade gloves during all steps of production and ingredient handling.
- Separate Clothes:Change clothes when leaving and entering premises, never exit premises or go to lunch in work-clothes.A separated changing room is ideal that is sealed off from the entire facility and should be very close to the entrance.Sanitise hands, wrists, arms, and face before dressing back in work attire.
- Crockery for Display: Dedicated display crockery for the gluten free items should be separated and dedicated to the products.They ideally should be washed, dried, and handled separately to other crockery
- Separate Work Areas: If you are serving products that are gluten-free we recommend that you have a dedicated manufacturing facility with all the pans, ovens, utensils, cutlery and crockery you need and deal with it as a stand-alone process.If you are handling gluten on site, make a separate dedicated area that is sealed from gluten containing area.This enables better control over the contamination risks in that area.Separate dedicated staff with separate dedicated changing rooms, washing areas, and handling equipment is needed to maintain integrity.
- Testing:We also highly recommend testing your final products for gluten in any microbiological testing lab on a regular basis- quarterly at least- to ensure your systems are working properly and the final product is lower than the 20ppm threshold.
You can apply the same logic in controlling other allergens with special attention to nuts and peanuts. You should always declare the allergens that are handled on site and when it comes to nuts, peanuts, and sesame because they can have severe reactions in highly sensitive patients.
Food production is a space that requires lots of integrity, your team must be dedicated to following your systems and protocols without exception to maintain a high integrity environment.