Food Manufacturing Industry: Allergen Safety as the Priority
Whether you are a food manufacturer in the US, or whether you operate in Canada, there can be no doubt that food safety is a top priority. Compliance with FSMA’s Human Food Rule and the current Good Manufacturing Practices exist to protect your firm and the consumers of the food you produce from hazards created by allergens. As you are aware, allergic reactions can range from mild to the most severe – death.
Allergen Preventive Controls are an important part of the food safety plan. Let’s take a few moments to establish the intent of regulatory compliance.
Do You Know the Types of Allergens?
There are a handful of food groups that are considered “high risk” in terms of allergen awareness. Each of these foods needs to be handled separately to eliminate the risk of cross-contamination. A prime example of such a food is nuts. Everyone has noticed product labels on their favorite chocolate bar that say “made in a factory that handles nuts.”
These allergen declarations are required to stop serious risks to consumer health. Undeclared allergens cost firms thousands every year, but worse – they can kill consumers who are allergic and have not been warned of the specific chemicals in contents of the food. This can be the result of mislabeling or adulteration if cross-contamination risks have not been controlled.
The most common allergens are:
- Soy (e.g. soybeans, soy lecithin)
- Tree nuts (e.g. pine nuts, coconut)
Other allergens, such as sesame, may be handled with sanitation and allergen programs, preventive controls and precautionary labeling.
Do you know how to choose Allergen Preventive Controls to comply with regulations?
FDA inspectors are actively reviewing product labels for accurate allergen declarations. Under FSMA’s PCHF Rule in the U.S. and the Safe Food for Canadian Regulations (SFCR), food producers must have a complete allergen management program including allergen preventive controls for hazards requiring them.
Following Personnel and Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures and GMPS are a good start. Make sure you are following the current GMPs in the PCHR Rule. You must know how to analyze the hazard of allergens to create a robust allergen management program with appropriate preventive controls. For example, how do you know that your plant sanitation team makes sure that production utensils and maintenance tools do not transfer an allergen from one product or product line to another?
Are you trained in Hazard and Risk-Based Preventive Controls?
ImEPIK has a risk matrix in our PCQI course to use as a guide to help you in deciding whether to include or not include precautionary labelling. Get practice completing a sample hazard analysis and choosing appropriate preventive controls in completed food safety plans
Food safety measures protect your business from taking the financial hit if standards are not maintained. To minimize potential food hazards in your manufacturing site, turn to ImEPIK.
ImEPIK can help with PCQI expertise and training with our self-paced, no scheduled webinar, online PCQI training. Food safety is complex and should be taken seriously, particularly when failure to abide by the law can result in hefty lawsuits against you and your company or serious risk to your customers. Shop with us today to start ensuring food safety compliance in your organization.