If you have been to a restaurant in the past year, chances are you will see what is becoming more than just a growing trend. In establishments all across North America, menu selections marked “glutenfree” or “gluten friendly” are becoming more prominent. It is terminology such as the ambiguous “gluten-friendly” that raises red flags for celiac or gluten-intolerant individuals. Consumers living gluten-free often fear dining out because they have no control over the preparation of their food. Much like seeing the gluten-free certification label from GFCO on their products at home, consumers want assurance that food establishments understand the issues related to gluten-free food preparation and have established procedures that will keep them safe. With this consumer confidence in certified products in mind, we want to put another trustworthy GIG program on your favorite restaurants’ menus. It is a label representative of a program that is at the forefront of restaurant certification; the next big thing in the gluten-free industry. That program is GFFS.
The Gluten-Free Food Services (GFFS) Training and Accreditation Program is a Food Safety program of the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. GFFS is designed to work with all food service establishments who wish to provide safe options for gluten-free consumers. GFFS works with experts in food preparation to help educate and train food service establishments to meet and adhere to the highest gluten-free standards. Our certification is designed to establish trust with gluten-free consumers in the ability of a restaurant or facility to provide safe gluten-free food.
Because no two food service establishments are the same, GFFS Certifications are customized to the specific needs of each applicant. Size, number of locations, and type of establishment are taken into consideration when establishing unique standard operating procedures for each of our clients. Audits are performed periodically and an establishment must achieve and maintain high ratings to remain certified. Beyond the main food preparation area, such as in healthcare settings, schools, and camps, GFFS also reviews those areas to provide a safe continuum of service and care for the consumer.
A ground-breaking indicator showing that restaurants are looking at the gluten-free consumer as a key customer base came about in 2015. Pizza Hut, the world’s largest pizza company, became the largest chain restaurant (based on location number) to work with GFFS and become gluten-free certified. Other large chains that have also signed on and become GFFS certified include The Melting Pot and California Pizza Kitchen.
GFFS’s work with these larger chains shows that gluten-free food service certification is not just for smaller establishments. Every 2 out of 10 restaurant-goers are requesting gluten-free menus and larger chains are beginning to notice. Once any restaurant, big or small, meets our certification requirements, a Gluten-Free Food Service Certification is issued. Our GFFS logo is then displayed and represents the independent verification of safe practices in food preparation, handling, and standards. With more participants and interest in the program, GFFS is the next big thing in gluten-free certification that you will see more of in the months and years to come.