Baja Jerky’s Cross-Contact Program Should Be a Lesson to Other Food Manufacturers

Baja Jerky outlines exactly what they do to keep their facilities and products free from gluten.

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Baja Jerky is new to the gluten-free food industry but making a good first impression. Founded in 2019, the brand evokes the vibes of summer, nature, and an active lifestyle.

Currently, Baja Jerky offers five flavors: Traditional, Sweet Orange, Lime & Serrano Pepper, Salsa Fresca, and Churro. CHURRO! We’re talking beef with cinnamon and sugar. I think I have to try the churro flavor because I’ve never heard of anything like it. It’s going to be either a culinary masterpiece or a digestive disaster.

The Baja Jerky flavors all carry a gluten-free claim on the packaging, and the company reiterates this on their website. However, it’s not clear what their gluten and allergen cross-contact policy is. We emailed them to find out more, and we were pleasantly surprised by their 7/8/2020 response.

This post is informational only. Gluten-Free Grubbin’ will not receive compensation in any form for mentioning this brand or its products.

Understanding Baja Jerky’s Cross-Contact Program

Below outlines the cross-contact program Baja Jerky’s co-packer uses:

Our facility is USDA inspected and we operate under strict cross-contamination guidelines and an approved HACCP program.  When processing gluten-free products, we start by always segregating the gluten-free ingredients.  Gluten-free production is scheduled as the first priority of the day, after complete WRS (wash, rinse, sanitize) protocol has been followed and the plant has undergone intense pre-operational inspection.  From the beginning of the process, marinating, the gluten-free batch is identified by a label which follows the batch throughout marinating, cooking and packaging.  At each step, production employees certify, in writing, that the gluten-free product has been processed in accordance with USDA mandated cross-contamination rules.  Production employees wear disposable hairnets, face masks, aprons, sleeves and gloves and by gluten-free priority scheduling, these garments are never exposed to other products.  Gluten-free package labels are required to be approved by USDA Washington and the ingredients are scrutinized for accuracy before official approval.  Our plant does manufacture other products that are not gluten-free but they are processed under the same precise USDA requirements to eliminate the possibility of cross-contamination of any kind. 

The plant has daily USDA inspections and we have annual third-party Food Safety Audits; our cross contamination program is a major part of these audits.  Our most recent audit was by Merieux/Silliker and our score was 99.1% for which we received a personal commendation from the auditing company for ranking in the top 1% in the country. 

We are pleased to share this information with you as we are very proud of our plant and our food safety record! 

Baja Jerky

Going the Extra Mile To Keep Us Safe

I gotta be honest: I’m super impressed with this response! I didn’t know that a manufacturing company could be inspected daily by the USDA, and I love that Baja Jerky welcomes it.

It’s also amazing that they’ve scored so high on their food safety audit. It’s nice to know that while they are in a shared facility, Baja Jerky takes their gluten cross-contact policy very seriously. People living a gluten-free lifestyle don’t have to stress wondering if they’ll get sick from eating Baja Jerky.

The transparency they’ve provided is appreciated. I’m sure that other gluten-free food manufacturers are taking some of these same steps, but many have been so vague in their responses to us. We appreciate Baja Jerky’s openness. But will we appreciate that churro-flavored beef jerky? We’ll have to do a review and let you know!

Go get your grub on!