Building a World- class Allergen Control Program, Part 2. Building a World- class Allergen Control Program, Part 2. By Richard F. Stier. Part 1 of this article discussed the following elements of allergen control: research and development, vendor approval and selection (purchasing), shipping and receiving, warehousing and human resources. In this article we will cover production, labeling and sanitation.
Developing an Allergen Control Program. development process. 2.4 Allergen Mapping. After it is decided what products have allergens, do a walk-through. Allergen management begins with new product concepts, research and development product prototypes, new ingredients, and new labels. The following. Building a World-class Allergen Control Program, Part 1. Research and Development Today, many companies outsource their product development efforts.
Allergens. Although nearly any food is capable of causing an allergic reaction, there are eight foods that cause the majority of reactions. These foods are. Mar 31-Apr 1 Allergen Program Development Apr 2 Gluten-Free Training Program Mar 31- Apr 2 COMBO COURSE: Allergen Program Development with Gluten-Free Training. Allergy Inspection Guide (4/01) Share. regulatory contact listed in the compliance program for guidance. PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT. is allergen-containing product. Allergen Program Development In A Food Plant - Controlling allergens in the food plant environment requires a effective management program, proper implementation and. This review will describe the current evidence for the role of indoor allergens in the development of. program in a high risk birth. the development of allergen.
An ambitious method development program was launched by the Food Research Division, Bureau of Chemical Safety, to address the lack of methodologies for the detection.
Building a World-class Allergen Control Program. Part 1 of this article discussed the following elements of allergen control: research and development.
Production and Production Scheduling. Allergen control in production operations is a combination of production scheduling, programs designed to minimize cross- contamination, good sanitary design of equipment and facilities, proper control and labeling of raw materials and ingredients, good sanitation practices and the application of technologies, especially vision systems, to “catch” containers or packages that are going where they should not be going. As was emphasized previously, there must be documented procedures that include proper monitoring and corrective actions. Production scheduling: Food processors who are processing and handling allergens need to establish rigid protocols for production scheduling to minimize the potential for allergen cross- contamination. Processors packaging organic products will run those items first thing in the morning on clean lines, so the organic items are not “contaminated” by conventional products. Allergens should be scheduled at the end of the work day for the same reasons.
If there are products that have slightly different formulations, say one contains egg noodles (wheat and egg) and the other contains a whole- wheat pasta, the item containing the two allergens should be scheduled later in the day. Depending upon the products being run, different cleaning procedures should be developed for use between products. These protocols will be addressed in the sanitation section below.
Another means to minimize allergen contamination is to establish dedicated lines for manufacturing products containing allergens. Ideally, such a line would be separated physically from lines used to manufacture products without allergens. In many plants, those responsible for production scheduling will not only develop the schedules, but provide production with paperwork that includes formulations, batching and coding information and any other pertinent information germane to manufacturing.
These documents should also highlight any allergens that are used in the products. Some companies even place colored stickers on the paperwork that highlight the allergen or allergens being handled. Sanitary design: Sanitary design of equipment and facilities, including giving proper consideration to traffic patterns and ventilation, is a key element not only for allergen control, but to prevent contamination of any kind. Plant design should include dedicated areas for staging and mixing allergens and the use of dedicated lines for processing allergens. One of the largest concerns in food- processing facilities is potential contamination though dusting. Areas where dry ingredients such as wheat flour, soy protein or cheese powders are dumped and mixed must be designed with proper ventilation to ensure that these allergens do not spread through the plant. Often, plants install blowers that blow dust into the plant.
Dry ingredient- handling plants must pay attention to ensuring that connections between lines and pipes are properly gasketed to minimize leakage. Sanitary design is another topic to which one could devote an entire piece. Staging and ingredient usage: When gearing up for a production run, it is important to consider how ingredients are organized and staged in order to minimize potential allergen cross- contact. Persons working in this area must make sure that ingredients containing allergens are properly labeled. This will serve as a check on receiving and warehouse operations and will ensure that production personnel understand that they are working with allergens. One key activity is to ensure that partial bags of ingredients have been labeled as to the date they were opened and properly sealed so that there are no leaks or spills. As part of this program, tops of drums and pails should be cleaned for use in blending operations.
Dedicated utensils: Another means for minimizing cross- contamination with allergens is through the use of dedicated utensils, containers and tools. One way to accomplish this is to establish a program whereby each allergen is handled using only certain colored tools. For example, ingredients containing milk might be handled with white scoops and those with soy, yellow. Plastic utensils and other tools are available in a wide range of colors as seen in Figure 1. When using plastic tools, workers should be trained to remove any implement that is damaged to minimize the potential for contamination. Some operations worry about using plastic, fearing that it may crack or flake, so another option is to utilize dedicated stainless steel implements. When this is done, it is imperative that these tools be clearly labeled and stored so that they do not get used where they should not be.
To minimize such concerns, some operators store utensils such as scoops or spoons with the ingredient. This is much easier if ingredients are transferred to plastic or metal bins or totes for storage. The utensils may be attached to the bin or stored in the container itself.
Manufacturers of stainless steel utensils could even consider producing these items with colored bands or handles. Proper labeling of work- in- progress (WIP): In many cases, processors will pre- batch certain materials for use in a finished blend. These could be meats destined to be filled into an appetizer, or a spice blend. These batched items, known as work- in- progress or WIP, must be properly labeled for both traceability and allergen control. As noted in the discussion of production scheduling, the use of tags that highlight the allergen in the batch can help minimize the potential for allergen contamination.
Rework: In the food industry, rework is becoming a “four- letter word.” Rework occurs when a processor takes product from a batch or lot and adds it to another item manufactured at a later date. For example, if a lot of product that is manufactured on August 7 is found to be defective in some way, the processor may elect to add the item in question back into the same or a similar product later on.
Doing this poses traceability issues and, if the product contains allergens, potential problems with the allergens in question. If your company does rework product, make sure that the product to be reworked is properly labeled, that a plan for rework is established and followed, and that the reworked products are properly documented to ensure traceability. Replacing damaged labels or recasing products that were damaged is not rework; instead, use a term such as recouping or recasing. Rework has a very bad connotation. Of course, even when doing something as simple as recasing or re- labeling products, care must be taken to do the work correctly and document that it was done.
Line sweeps: Every time a processor does a product change, it is essential that the line be prepared for the next item to be run. This involves cleaning up to and including the filler. The kind of cleaning that will be done will depend on the product that was run and what is to be run next. Good production scheduling should help make these changeovers easier and more efficient. From the fillers or packing machines, quality and/or production personnel should sweep the line all the way through to casing and palletizing.
This sweep is aimed at ensuring that there is no product or labeling material from the previous run on or around the lines. Personnel assigned to this task should walk the line and remove any containers, labels or items remaining from the run just completed. This should include ensuring that trash bins or waste receptacles are emptied and that quality samples are moved into the testing facilities. No materials from the previous run should be on or near the line.
Records that this work was done must be maintained. Labeling. The importance of labeling allergens comes up again and again. Ideally, foods and ingredients containing allergens should be labeled by vendors. Persons in receiving should be supplied with updated lists of allergen- containing materials so those items can be tagged upon arrival (see sample label tags in Figure 2). The warehouse staff must store allergens in designated and marked areas and stage materials for production to minimize potential problems. Production records and scheduling documents should flag allergens. Finally, it is imperative that companies establish programs to ensure that the right labels are applied to all containers to be sure that consumers are properly informed.
If foods containing allergens—but not labeled as such—are inadvertently released into distribution, a recall will be necessary. It is the label, as noted in part 1, that lets sensitive consumers make the right choices to protect themselves. The FDA requires that food labels note potential allergens; an example is shown in Figure 3 (also at www. Scanning technology: Processors that are truly concerned about allergens should take a long look at the different kinds of scanning technologies available on the market today. These technologies have evolved very quickly in the past few years and provide processors with a tool or series of tools to help ensure that products are not only properly labeled but that the product matches up with the label.
These technologies can be set up to scan ink codes or labels as they are being put on containers, or they can be designed as integrated systems. A processor can do everything correctly during the initial phases of processing and still end up with the wrong label on a container. Suppliers occasionally co- mingle labels from different products. Processors may also inadvertently mix labels.