Allergens are the number one reason why products have to be recalled in the food production industry. This is because they pose a deadly risk to consumers. As such, food manufacturers and owners of a business involved in the supply chain need to be rigorous when it comes to their allergen management. However, this task is notoriously difficult – so, how exactly does one successfully control allergens in food production? That’s what we will be discussing in our article today. Keep reading to find out more information and ensure the food you deliver to customers is safe for them to consume.
Handling Raw Materials
Cross-contamination is a major problem for manufacturers when trying to manage allergens during production. It is all too easy for cross-contamination to occur. For example, if one worker is weighing an allergenic ingredient and then goes to weigh a different ingredient, bacteria could be transferred from their hands to the food. Therefore, manufacturers must ensure they handle all their raw materials very carefully. This is especially true for the main allergens like nuts, dairy, eggs, shellfish, and so on. They should educate their workers on the subject thoroughly, so they know what causes cross-contamination and put measures in place to prevent it.
Accounting for Suppliers
Food manufacturers don’t just need to manage allergens in their factories. They need to consider their supplier’s productions, too. For instance, if your company makes sweets and sources sugar from another company, how do you know that your supplier hasn’t been working in a factory with allergens? As such, food manufacturers should contact all their suppliers or partners and ask about this, ensuring that cross-contamination hasn’t taken place at any stage of production.
Segregation and Sequencing
One of the best ways to manage allergens in food production is to introduce segregation and sequencing. This is all about breaking down each step of production; including the weighing of ingredients, food preparation, packaging, and so on. Workers should be assigned to one specific stage of the sequence and not be allowed to move around between stations, helping to prevent the spread of allergens. A food traceability system is incredibly useful in this regard. This kind of system has controls which stipulate when, where and who handles the allergens during food production, ensuring that manufacturers are conforming with food safety standards. By keeping everything separate and creating a distinct system, it’s much easier to oversee production and control allergens.
Keeping Everything Clean
Finally, it is incredibly important to keep everything clean if you are working with allergens during recipe formulation. For instance, whenever you weigh raw materials, you should clean the scales afterwards. Your workers should also wear disposable gloves whenever assembling during production, plus wash their hands at regular intervals. Food manufacturers will need to have their cleanliness standards regularly checked, too, because even the smallest of particles left over from an allergen can induce a reaction in consumers.
That’s everything we have to say on allergen management in food production for now. Keep this information in mind and do your utmost to prevent cross-contamination of any and all food products.