The Association of European Coeliac Societies (AOECS) is a not-for-profit umbrella organization representing about 40 coeliac societies in Europe and beyond. AOECS owns and operates a gluten-free certification program recognized internationally by its Crossed Grain Symbol, which is a registered trademark.
Brand owners are able to use this Symbol in their pre-packaged food products by meeting the AOECS Standard for Gluten-free Foods and by meeting the Grossed Grain Symbol’s licensing rules.
Products bearing the Crossed Grain Trademark (CGT) must contain 20 mg/kg (ppm) or less of gluten.
AOECS Addendum Audit Program
SGS has partnered with AOECS to offer food manufacturers and retailers a cost effective and robust route to gluten-free food certification.
The AOECS Gluten-Free Addendum Audit Program, was developed in collaboration with SGS can be delivered alongside any of the GFSI Benchmarked Food Safety Standards (BRCGS, IFS, FSSC 22000, and SQF) to cover all requirements and expectations within the latest AOECS Standard. This means that if you are certified to any of these schemes, you can benefit from the AOECS Gluten-Free Addendum without having to go through the process of a full stand-alone AOECS audit.
The AOECS Gluten-Free Addendum has been designed with the needs of manufacturers and retailers in mind, to offer the following benefits:
- Reduce time on site, minimizing operational disturbance
- Save costs
- Ensure that audits are carried out by skilled and qualified auditors
- Allow companies with sites certified to different GFSI Benchmarked Standards to use a single gluten-free Addendum Program, improving operational efficiency
AOECS stand-alone audit
For manufacturers and brand owners that are not currently certified to any of the GFSI Benchmarked Food Safety Standards (BRCGS, IFS, FSSC 22000, and SQF), or for those that cannot wait until their next audit, the AOECS stand-alone audit is an alternative solution to achieving a Crossed Grain Trademark license through the AOECS gluten-free certification.
SGS has trained and qualified auditors around the world that can work with you and the relevant licensor celiac society to deliver stand-alone audits to the AOECS Standard for Gluten-Free Foods and assist you through every step in the compliance and certification process.
AOECS certification steps
Irrespective of the type of audit that applies to you (AOECS Addendum or Standalone), certification involves the following steps:
- Contact the relevant national coeliac society and complete the Crossed Grain Trademark license application form
- Prepare your facility for an on-site audit by conducting a self-assessment or ask SGS to do this for you
- Book your audit to be combined with a GFSI Benchmarked Audit with SGS or select to go for the AOECS standalone audit and arrange for your products to be tested for gluten content
- When you pass your audit, SGS will issue a certificate of compliance against the AOECS Standard
- Send your audit certificate to the national coeliac society licensor to complete your license application to use the Crossed Grain Trademark on your packaged food products
- Maintain your Crossed Grain Trademark certification by planning for your facility’s annual audits and conducting the necessary product testing
Learn more about the Crossed Grain Trademark by visiting www.aoecs.org