Real knowledge about allergen management is very often the first factor which lacking with QA or Food Safety professionals. There are various systems (e.g. LEDA and VITAL 2.0) in use, and the legal framework differs between the geographical regions when it comes to the list of (mandatory) allergens to be declared. Managing the daily practices is even more difficult: how do you exactly prevent cross-contamination, what are the best ways to manage allergens effectively? One thing we know for sure: one of the main sources of undeclared allergens in food products are issues with allergens in the raw materials being used. Do you have sufficient insight in your supplier’s processes to establish the real risk of potentially undeclared allergens in your raw materials? It’s all these above issues that make allergen management to a difficult area for a lot of QA managers throughout the world in all types of food industry,
What is the lowest level of impact that undeclared allergens or cross-contamination have for most food producers? If the undeclared allergens end up in finished goods at your customer’s company, this will represent a serious issue which needs to be handled differently and with care, otherwise it might result in a full-blown product recall. Did you know there are a lot of changes in legislation? Do you know what recently changed?
With recent changes in international legislation (e.g. in the USA, Canada and China) it is nowadays a criminal offence to produce and sell unsafe products into the food chain. This of course includes undeclared allergens. So the effect of issues in allergen management might be you going to jail. In the USA there are already several examples of people being put to prison for food safety issues that caused people to die. Sentences up to 25 years are no exception for those involved that did neglect to properly manage the risks towards food safety in their day-to-day running of their business.
Raw materials are always the starting point for a good allergen management approach. First of all you need the know what the risks are involved in the raw materials you use. A good starting point is the website of the INFORMALL project, run from the University of Manchester: http://research.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/informall/allergenic-foods/ . This way you can make sure you factor in the right risks when it comes to raw materials. When handling goods, aspects of segregation are important factors to manage allergens: physical segregation of good during the production process, but also the use of separate utensils (e.g. separate scoops to dose minor materials) and sometimes even separate production lines for allergen-free products are required. A good way of supporting the principle of segregation is to use colour coding for utensils, production lines and even for storage areas of products of different allergen classes. Finally, if you still are confronted with issues in allergen management, the best resource to tap into is the Food Allergen Research & Resource Program (FARRP) of the University of Nebraska: http://farrp.unl.edu/ . This group has all the expert knowledge you might need and can also perform independent (and confidential) ELISA testing for the presence of allergens in food stuff. This might be a valuable resource for you in the case you need to manage a potential (recall) issue involving allergens.
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Training on Allergen Management
All GFSI-guidelines acquire that people are trained. Therefor we all provide a lot of trainings on our CCP’s and OPRP’s. After following the training the people understand the meaning of their CCP and OPRP and how to act. However, focusing only on CCP’s and ORPR’s isn’t going to solve the issues we have with Allergen Management. Next to this, often after following a training you learned a lot about WHY it is so important that you take action. On the other hand, most of the courses don’t provide you the information of HOW to implement and improve your system. And that’s exactly the difference of all the courses of Food Safety Experts and all the other courses you can find. We, at Food Safety Experts, focus on the HOW. This will give you a lot of tools to implement and improve your situation.
Check out our video lesson for only $14. You will have one year access to the video lesson. This will give you the time to implement what you have learned. You can watch the video lesson as often as you would like to. Next to this, you will receive a certificate that you followed a training on Allergen Management. For more information: Must Haves For Effective Allergen Management
QFS Mastery Program
At Food Safety Experts we have our QFS Mastery Program. This Program contains 24 modules with different topics related to food safety. And Allergen Management is one of the modules. In this module you will receive ± 2.5 hours of video lessons on HOW to Effectively Uopgrade Your Allergen Management System and ± 10 downloads that you can implement in your organization.
This Program will give you a huge boost as a professional and for your company. For more information, please visit our website QFS Mastery Program.
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6 Areas for Successful Allergen Management