How Do I Manage Food Allergies Within Food Processing?
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, peanut allergies in children have increased by 21% since 2010. Additionally, eight foods are the cause of 90% of allergic reactions: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. Because of these growing allergies, food manufacturers face the ever-growing challenge of properly preparing and labeling their food products. In fact, poor and inaccurate labeling causes nut-allergic people to take 40% longer to shop and undeclared allergens were the leading cause of recalls in 2012. Based on these statistics, it’s clear that food allergies are a growing public health concern that food processors must act on. So, how do you manage food allergies within food processing? Other than standardized labeling and verifying the cleanliness of processing lines after products containing allergens are handles, you manage food allergies within food processing with the following three techniques.
1. Supply Chain Control
In order to accurately assess the risk of your product, you must have the correct raw material information. This means you must have record of each supplier’s processing techniques, ingredients used, and information of all other products within their facility. With this information, you can keep accurate documentation of each supplier and the assessment of their allergen management practices in order to ensure your product is safe from contamination.
2. Life Cycle Management
In order to control allergens within food processing, you need to make sure that raw ingredients are coming from a place where allergens are being managed sufficiently. For example, raw ingredients and finished product should be stored appropriately to avoid cross-contamination. Additionally, it may be necessary to manage ventilation systems so as to prevent air transfer from ingredients stored separately.
3. ERP for Food Manufacturing
Once you’ve selected the right allergen testing technology, it’s important to have a system that can record these tests. To best record these tests, you should have an ERP system for food manufacturing so that your test records live within the same system as your transaction and inventory data. Allergen tests are worthless if they’re not recorded against the lot tested. By having an ERP system for food manufacturing, such as NorthScope, you can record each lot’s test results to determine any action needed such as placing a lot hold or specific labeling.