Undeclared food allergens are a major concern in the food and beverage industry, often leading to costly recalls and reputational damage for businesses. With the landscape of food regulations continuously evolving, allergen cross-contact remains a significant risk. To address this issue and protect consumers with food allergies, companies should implement a robust Allergen Management Program.
Each year, thousands of individuals in the U.S. require emergency medical care due to allergic reactions to certain foods, including seafood, dairy, nuts, wheat, soy, and sesame. Strict government regulations in many countries, such as the FDA in the U.S. and CFIA in Canada, require food manufacturers to disclose major allergens on product labels.
To reduce the risk of allergen-related contamination, companies should activate their Allergen Management Program. This involves developing processes, protocols, and employee training to prevent unintentional allergen incorporation into food products. Allergen cross-contact can occur at various stages of the supply chain, so it is crucial to conduct a thorough allergen risk assessment and adhere to Good Manufacturing Protocols (GMP).
Managing suppliers is also vital in identifying allergens in raw materials. Regular communication with suppliers, updated specifications, and thorough reviews of allergen control policies are essential. Additionally, maintaining a master list of all ingredients and understanding potential risks in the production process are key elements in allergen management.
To avoid allergen cross-contact, companies should designate dedicated equipment, use proper segregation, and conduct thorough allergen cleaning between production runs. Implementing documented visual inspections and regular labeling checks also contribute to effective allergen control.
By establishing a comprehensive Allergen Management Program, companies can protect consumers and build trust in their products. At PJR, we are committed to assisting businesses in developing and implementing robust allergen management techniques that meet regulatory and GFSI-benchmarked standard requirements. Contact us today at (248) 519-2523 or by email at [email protected] to ensure the safety and integrity of your products and reputation.