VSAG on Industry Watch: Gluten-Free Seal of Approval

NFCA-certification-trademarkWe’ve talked in the past about the importance of educating food service operators as an industry in regards to being conscious of gluten-free and other dietary concerns of guests and providing them with smart food options when dining out.

Now it seems as though the millions of those suffering from Celiac Disease or some form of sensitivity to gluten are going to find support, not just from advocates in the restaurant industry, but also on a national scale from the regulators.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued a final ruling on what characteristics foods must have in order to be labeled “gluten-free.” Hence, food service providers must adhere to certain criteria (i.e. a gluten limit of less than 20 parts per million) in foods that carry this label on their menus and in their restaurants.

What does that mean for your restaurant? It means that when serving as a champion for all guests, including those with gluten-free or other dietary needs, education and commitment is key.

Once you and your team have reviewed and understand the meaning of gluten-free, there are further steps you can take to incorporate delicious gluten-free offerings on your menu. For example, work closely with trusted vendors to acquire FDA approved gluten-free sourced ingredients; reinforce preparing, storing, handling, and serving best practices to prevent cross contamination; examine all menu offerings to see what dishes can be tweaked to be featured for gluten-free guests, and similar actions.

Another positive step towards gluten-free awareness is that the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) has championed a voluntary Gluten-free Certification Program (GFCP) designed to enhance FDA gluten-free labeled products by also displaying the NFCA gluten-free certification trademark (above). Learn more and see if your restaurant can earn this certification; it could make a world of difference for your guests.