Food First Blog | Tip of the Week: Don’t Turn Treats into Tricks

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Tip of the Week: Don’t Turn Treats into Tricks – Tips for Managing Allergens
Tip of the Week: Don’t Turn Treats into Tricks – Tips for Managing Allergens

With Halloween quickly approaching and candy buckets soon to be loaded with everyone’s favorite treats, people with food allergies depend on manufacturers to ensure their safety.

As a refresher on allergens, the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA) identified eight major food allergen categories that accounted for more than 90 percent of all documented food allergies in the United States. These top eight allergen categories are milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans. While the FDA fully realizes that there are more than 160 foods that have been identified to cause food allergies in sensitive individuals, the final act only mandated disclosure of these top eight.

More recently in 2011, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was passed to help define sanitation procedures and a food allergen control program, among other rules. Even with FSMA in place, allergens continue to pose a threat not only to consumers, but also to the food industry itself. In fact, each year since 2011, there have been more than 200 FDA food allergen recall incidents. So how do manufacturers keep foods safe for today’s ghouls and goblins? Our experts recently discussed allergens in the August issues of Milling & Baking News and Baking & Snack, with “The vital components of an effective allergen control strategy”. We’ll also offer four tips, which may be helpful in managing allergens for food manufacturers:

Manage Cross-Contact

To help effectively manage cross-contact, GMP and sanitation best practices should be implemented. Simple steps and tools can be utilized to control allergens, though line operators should rely on more than eye-level inspections. To improve your sanitation and GMPs, take advantage of our expert-led online seminars, private training and GMP/Sanitation Workshop.

Clean at Changeover

When shared equipment, containers, or utensils are used for an allergen and a non-allergen or non-like allergen product, cleaning of all the equipment, containers and utensils must take place. The cleaning must be effective in removing all product residues and can be completed at changeover. For example, products such as nuts tend to leave an oily residue behind and require wet cleaning. Cloth belts often require laundering between non-compatible allergens.

Extend to the Warehouse

Regardless of the product base or processing method, all manufacturers’ products will route through warehouse and distribution at some point in the logistical life cycle. Thus, it is important for manufacturers and processors to consider that food safety practices and expectations should follow the product through all phases of the supply chain, including third-party and in-house warehousing and distribution centers.

Food Labeling Online

Ensure Labeling Compliance

Mislabeling due to allergens is one of the top reasons for recalls. Upcoming FDA labeling requirements means additional information may be needed for your labels to be compliant. While FDA label compliance is necessary, it's not as daunting as you may think. Our experts are ready to provide nutrition information based on the new regulations for 2020/2021 compliance. 

Don’t let labeling compliance haunt you! Now through the end of October, our Flash Sale for 20% Off Online Food Labeling Training can take the fear from labeling.

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