Manufacturing with a focus on food allergy
Food manufacturers are responsible for the safety of their products. This section of the website mainly deals with how manufacturers can manage allergen risks through use of a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) programme.
The presence of allergens in products is a risk that manufacturers must manage. In the EU it is a legal requirement to declare allergenic ingredients in pre-packed foods. The EU legislation, however, neither covers foods sold loose nor allergens that enter foods inadvertently. You can read more about legal issues in the section on “EU Legal requirements”.
Another allergen risk could be that allergens may enter foods inadvertently through, for example, the use of common processing equipment, or adjacent production lines. This may result in a “peanut-free” product containing traces of peanut, for example.
In order to manage allergens and to avoid the unintentional presence of allergens in food products manufacturers should use a HACCP programme. When you use a HACCP programme you need to evaluate the hazards associated with the whole “lifecycle” of the product. You need to start with the production of raw materials and assess every step of the process through to labelling and packaging of the final product for consumption. A long this pathway you should identify the critical points where allergens may be introduced into products during manufacture or where products may be wrongly labelled. You should also establish a system to monitor these critical control points to ensure that unintentional cross contact and incorrectly labelled products are minimised.
Food authorities and/or food federations in different countries have developed guidelines to aid the food industry in how to manage and label allergens. You can find an overview of risk assessment, management and communication in relation to allergens as well as links to several of the guidelines in this section of the website.