At Little Stream Bakery, we have several policies and procedures to ensure that our gluten-free products remain gluten-free to a level below 20 parts per million (ppm), (i.e. each bread does not contain more than 20 ppm). This is the standard that is accepted by Codex* as the allowable limit to make a gluten-free claim. Also, presently this is the level that the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) is enforcing for gluten-free claims.
At Little Stream Bakery, we have built our business reputation on integrity in several dimensions relating to health and ecology. As a Certified Organic producer, we are very familiar with proper sourcing and tracking. Much of this experience transfers well to gluten-free production. We are a small business with very low turnover and experienced mature staff who are conscientious and understand the need for attention to detail. There
are 11 full-time staff with an average of 8 years experience and 5 part-time staff with an average of 6 years experience. Also, the owner/founder of Little Stream, Graham Beck, maintains a presence on the production floor on a regular basis.
Outlined below are the specific steps we take to maintain our gluten-free integrity:
1) GLUTEN-FREE SOURCING - Only purchasing ingredients from tested gluten-free sources. All ingredients for gluten-free production are sourced from reliable gluten-free sources. Some ingredients such as raisins, olive oil or salt are gluten-free by their nature, as they are grown, processed and packaged in a gluten-free environment. All primary ingredients including grains, flours or material to produce flour and flax meal are tested for the presence of gluten for every lot number we use. This testing is either done on our premises or supplied from a producer who follows their own strict gluten-free protocol - where they do their own testing. If any potential ingredient tests positive for more than 10 ppm we will not use it.
2) Sourdough Starters- Our gluten-free loaves are all made without yeast and use a sourdough starter. Each variety of gluten-free bread uses a separate starter that is always gluten-free and consistent with that loaf - for example, Rice Loaf uses a rice starter and Buckwheat Loaf uses a buckwheat starter.
3) PRODUCTION- All of our Gluten-free production, as well as the milling of the rice, millet and quinoa flour, is now being done at our new completely Gluten-Free facility in Perth, Ontario, eliminating any possible cross-contamination with gluten. The natural granite stone mill is used for all flours except buckwheat which we buy from a local mill.
4) TESTING - We test our ingredients in-house, as needed, using the EZ Gluten Test from Elisa Technologies. This is a simple kit that allows us to determine if a sample is below 10 ppm. Also we test randomly using this same kit on our finished products to verify the gluten-free integrity of the finished products.
*Codex standard for gluten-free foods is avaiable in PDF format here.