What does it mean to be “Certified Free-From™” by MenuTrinfo®?
Upon successful completion of an audit, MenuTrinfo® will certify your facility “free from” Gluten, Peanuts, Tree nuts, Eggs, Fish, Shellfish, Soy, Milk, and Wheat – based on the program you select. As part of the audit, we review your ingredients and products and add confidence that your staff has the tools to monitor, identify, and control allergens and gluten within your menu and ingredient lists. “Certified Free From” certifies that the kitchen procedures and menu items of certified facilities meet KWC’s CFF standards. Due to variables out of the kitchen control once food is passed the serving line there is no guarantee that it will remain free from allergens and gluten.
Does MenuTrinfo® check products used as ingredients and how often?
MenuTrinfo® conducts a comprehensive review of all ingredients and products for allergens prior to granting certification. Additionally, any products/ingredients that are added to the facility after initial audit must be submitted and approved by KwC as they will be checked to not include any of the allergens or gluten the facility is “Certified Free-From™”.
Do the KwC facilities test their finished products?
You bet! In order to maintain any certification MenuTrinfo®, all clients that are “Certified Free From™” allergens and/or gluten must test their facility and/or products for each allergen and gluten at a minimum of once a month and provide proof of those tests to MenuTrinfo®.
Why test for allergens and gluten?
- Verify and validate allergen and/or gluten control programs
- Support certification by confirming food is maintaining “Free-From”
- Ensure allergen food safety
- Added value for our diners
What are MenuTrinfo®’s recommended testing methods?
- Immunochemical methods are the most specific and sensitive tests for continuous allergen monitoring
- Lateral flow devices (LFD)
- Easy to use, rapid results, and affordable
- Comprehensive testing of equipment/surfaces, raw ingredients, and finished products
- Require validation to ensure that the test will be positive in the true presence of the allergen
- MenuTrinfo® considers LFD testing paired with visual inspection of cleanliness to be a reasonable approach for monitoring allergen residues as part of a valid and verified allergen control program.
What test kits does MenuTrinfo® recommend to use to meet testing compliance?
We recommend the following testing kits:
- Neogen Lab’s Reveal 3D (Egg, Crustacea, Gluten, Peanut, Soy, Total Milk) and Reveal for Multi-Tree Nut
- Romer Lab’s AgraStrip® (Crustacea, Egg, Gluten, Milk, Peanut, Soy, Various Individual Tree Nuts)
- Hygiena AlerTox (Crustacea, Egg, Fish, Milk, Soy, Various Individual Tree Nuts) and GlutenTox
What is MenuTrinfo®’s policy on Food Allergen Thresholds?
We are limited to what the testing can provide. Here are the limits for selected Neogen allergen test kits:
Allergen Qualitative Almond 5.0 ppm Cashew 5.0 ppm Hazelnut 5.0 ppm Pecan 5.0 ppm Walnut 5.0 ppm Pistachio 5.0 ppm Coconut 1.0 ppm Egg 5.0 ppm Soy 2.5 ppm Gliadin 5.0 ppm Gluten 5.0 ppm Total Milk 5.0 ppm Peanut 5.0 ppm Crustacea 5.0 ppm Fish 5.0 ppm
What is MenuTrinfo®’s policy on Gluten Free?
According to the FDA, foods may be labeled “gluten-free” if the food is either inherently gluten free or does not contain an ingredient that is a gluten-containing grain such as barley or spelt wheat; derived from a gluten-containing grain that has not been processed to remove gluten, such as wheat flour; or derived from a gluten-containing grain that has been processed to remove gluten, such as wheat starch if the use of that ingredient results in the presence of 20 parts per million (ppm) or more gluten in the food. KwC requires all clients that are certified gluten-free to adhere to the definition of gluten-free set forth by the FDA and food cannot contain more than 10 ppm.
I have a dedicated space and have successfully completed an audit through MenuTrinfo®. How can I display my efforts?
A certified establishment or space will be provided with the audit report as well as a certificate of audit, which will display the name of the establishment, the area certified, the KwC certification seal, and the certified free from logo. The logo will depict the allergens that the facility has been found to be free from. The facility should proudly display their certificate of accomplishment in or near the area that has been certified.
Is a MenuTrinfo® audit similar to a health inspection audit?
Some aspects of the audit itself are similar, however, MenuTrinfo® audits and services are voluntary while health inspections are mandatory. A KwC audit is encouraged for any establishment that feels they have gone above and beyond when catering to guests with allergens, any establishment that seeks verification of their current efforts, or any establishment that requires additional assistance in fine-tuning their allergen protocol.
The word audit is pretty threatening to a food service establishment. How do you view your services?
MenuTrinfo® is as much an advocate for their foodservice clients as they are for the diner with special dietary needs. KwC strongly views itself as a partner, and not the iron fist, of the food service industry. Each audit we perform is done with the goal to create winners, not losers. Our intention is always to promote success while providing opportunities for improvement.
Can I receive a MenuTrinfo® Seal of Audit and Certified Free from Logo if I do not have a dedicated space?
We do, but the nature of a shared space creates a lot more potential for cross-contact. Get in touch with us to see if your shared facility will be able to qualify for certification.
What is the cost of a MenuTrinfo® certified free from audit?
Costs are dependent upon services provided. Contact us at Info@MenuTrinfo.com for more information.
How long does certification last?
Establishments who wish to maintain their accredited status with MenuTrinfo® must be audited and certified on an annual basis.
Do you make any exemptions for ingredients containing the top 8 food allergens? (Fish oil, soy oil, etc.)
MenuTrinfo® takes its lead from the FDA:
The MenuTrinfo® product approval process is consistent with and guided by the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, 21 U.S.C. §343 et seq. (“FALCPA”). FALCPA mandates that foods that contain a “major food allergen ” or a protein derived therefrom be appropriately labeled. An exception is made in FALCPA for “any highly refined oil derived from a food specified…and any ingredient derived from such highly refined oil.” (Section 201 as amended by section 102(b)). Following this guidance, KwC will allow ingredients containing highly refined oils derived from allergenic ingredients to be used in CFF production.