Guest Column | November 4, 2015

Food Manufacturing's Russian Roulette: No Allergen Control Plan

Food Allergen Control Plan

By Jeff Nelken, food safety expert, foodsafetycoach.com

In order for a food manufacturing plant to run safely and effectively, the development and implementation of an Allergen Control Plan (ACP) is crucial. The avoidance of cross-contamination of allergy producing substances will prevent food recalls, bad publicity, or even worse, any human adverse physical reactions. Developing a method to systematically identify and prevent allergens from coming into contact with food being manufactured and/or the packaging of foods is a vital part of the process.

There are eight allergens that are considered hazardous to certain people. They represent 90 percent of all known food allergies. “The Big 8” consists of soy, wheat, eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish. Developing a HACCP plan will help control the plant from integrating these allergens into food production or packaging.

In 2003, the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program identified the two biggest problems in cross-contamination of food allergy substances. First, the program identified a lack of cleaning — or improper cleaning methods — after an allergen production run, remixing, or combining of previous products, utilizing different ingredients without performing an allergen analysis, mislabeling allergens, or substitutions. Finally, the program showed that not performing periodic reviews of HACCP plans and procedures to be another major cause of cross contamination of allergy substances.

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