Process of Getting a Manufactured Food Tested for Gluten
Scenario one; A food manufacturer who wants to put a gluten free label on their product.
According to the FSAI, a manufacturer may only label their product as gluten free if the product contains less than 20ppm gluten. This applies to both packaged foods and foods sold in restaurants and other catering establishments. The only way to prove this is with a gluten free laboratory test certificate (or contains only naturally gluten free ingredients).
In order to be certified, a producer must have a sample of their product sent to a laboratory. The size of the sample will depend on the specific test and laboratory.
Below is a list of laboratories that carry out gluten testing and how to contact them. Prices are for shown are for guidance only. Contact the laboratory directly to confirm the cost of testing your sample.
Biological Testing Laboratory
Unit 4, Newbridge Industrial Estate,
Newbridge, Co. Kildare,
T: +353 (045) 491600 or (0)45 434355
Uses Sandwich ELISA.
Contact the lab and follow instructions given to get set up on their system. Fill out and return Analysis Request Form (given by lab) to apply for sample test. Can post, ask a courier or drop sample to the lab.
10 day turn around
The FBO* should reference the following suite code when asking for a discounted Gluten price:
Price per sample €65.00
Carrigeen Business Park, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary
T: 052 6178100
Uses R5 Mendez ELISA.
Samples can be posted/couriered/brought in person to ALS. 150g per sample is required for analysis.
8 – 10 working days
€85.00 per sample + VAT @23%.
Allergen Centre Ltd.
John Summers MChem AMRSC, Food Allergen Centre Ltd., 103 Welsford Ave, Wells, Somerset, BA5 2HZ
T: +44 (0)1749 671698
M: +44 (0)7815699501
Use the R5 Sandwich ELISA, Mendez method. Located in the UK.
2 working days
Sample 1: £65/swab
Sample 2: £55/swab
Sample 3-9: £45/swab
Sample 10+: £35/swab
44 Colbourne Crescent, Nelson Park, Cramlington, Northumberland, NE23 1WB.
Use R5 gliadin test with Mendez Cocktail extraction.
The test requires a minimum of 50g of sample per test and the sample should be representative of the product as sold (for example, if there are layers then all the layers need to be present in the correct proportion).
2-3 working days.
£54.65 per sample
Unit D13 North City Business Park, North Road, Finglas,Dublin 11
T: +353 (0)1 4311306
Tests Raw and processed foods (bakery, dairy, ready meals, spices, desserts, sauces). Uses ELISA method. Sample size must be 50-100g. Send samples in the original closed packaging for this test.
*FBO: Food Business Operator
With a cert to prove your product is gluten free, the producer may place a gluten free claim on their product. According to the FSAI, a food needs to be tested initially to prove it is less than 20ppm gluten and must document the procedure to ensure no cross-contamination. This should be incorporated as part of the food safety management system. There is no frequency of testing set out in legislation so the food business operator can test periodically to ensure the systems they have in place are working and this too should be documented.
EHO/HSE and HACCP certs are necessary by law for all food businesses and can incorporate how a gluten free business ensures the management and avoidance of gluten cross-contamination but they do not stand in place of a valid gluten free cert.
Cross-Grain Licensing has two further elements;
- A declaration is to be filled out based on the products the food producer wants under the Crossed Grain licence.
- The gluten free certification (using ELISA testing) of the product as sold or distributed to the consumer shall be sent to the Licensor (Coeliac Society authorised according to the AOECS Charta to act on of behalf of AOECS) at least once a year
- Either a BRCGS with gluten free element or AOECS factory audit is required annually.
- In addition to the above the Licensor is encouraged to take random samples from time to time
- For more information on Cross-Grain procedures visit http://aoecs.org/sites/default/files/ckeditor/AOECS%20Standard%20Sept%202016.pdf
Scenario 2; Gluten free baker, selling at local markets.
The standards set out above also apply to food producers selling foods at local markets. A laboratory certificate proving the products are gluten free is needed before the food can be sold as a gluten-free product. All food safety rules and precautions to prevent gluten cross-contamination apply. Production conditions must be kept the same each time. If there are any changes to production a new gluten free laboratory certificate is required.