Posted on 27th March 2014 by biocheckuk.
Management of food allergens continues to be a significant challenge for the food industry, not only because it is one of the main causes of product recalls. In December there will also be important legislative changes to allergen labelling of pre-packed foods as well as to the supply of information for consumers with non-prepacked foods. These changes are being introduced across Europe and in the UK will be enforced under the new Food Information Regulations. The Food Standards Agency will be bringing out guidance on the regulations before the summer. Additionally, a new best practice guideline on Allergen Management has just been published by BRC to assist compliance with the current food safety standard. The guidance has five themes: significance, suppliers, separation, scheduling and sanitation. Recently, BRC reported its top 10 corrected Non-Conformities from a sample of 6,500 audit reports from 2012. Non-Conformance against the fundamental requirement of Housekeeping and hygiene (Clause 4.11) was ranked 4th in the sample. The requirement is designed to ensure that appropriate standards of hygiene are maintained at all times and the risk of product contamination is minimised. Ensuring acceptable levels of cleaning performance within Allergen Management (Clause 5.2.8) can be assisted through use of the Allergen FlowThrough™ swabbing kits, which detect as little as 0.5µg/mL gluten and 0.3µg/mL casein in a swab solution. These tests help assess the effectiveness of cleaning and provide evidence of routine verification by indicating that allergens have been reduced to an acceptable level.