In Kellerman Consulting’s allergen series we are going to focus on some of the difficult issues many facilities face when employing allergen controls in food and food packaging facilities .
As part of our review, we are going to cover some basic background information about allergens, as well as some standard criteria used to determine how large of an allergen program is appropriate for a facility.
Once we look at the varying risks allergens pose, we will explore operational strategies for identifying, organizing and monitoring allergens to assure a facility can demonstrate compliance during regulatory inspection or certification audits.
To determine the risk of allergens in a facility we must first identify whether or not there are exposed foods processed in the facility, and also identify if there are any allergens in the exposed foods.
For a storage and distribution facility that does not handle exposed food and for food packaging facilities there is a low risk of allergens in the facility.
Next in terms of risks are facilities that process foods, and ALL foods processed contain NO allergens. An example could include a produce distributor that cuts and bags greens, a beverage company, or a meat or poultry processor.
Facilities that do not process food with allergens in them have a minimal risk of allergens from the food being processed, but there is always a risk of allergens getting into the food by mistake from supplier error or employee hygiene issues.
Lastly, we have facilities that process foods with allergens in them, for these facilities allergens are always going to be a high risk.
Regardless of what risk level a facility determines for allergens, all facilities have allergens in them unless a written policy restricting 100 percent of allergenic foods from entering the facility is part of the food safety program.
At a minimum, a signed statement by leadership and the food safety team stating whether or not the facility has allergens on site in food they handle, and whether or not those allergens are exposed should be present and available for review during audits and inspections.
In our next episode, we are going to look at how allergens are controlled in a food facility, and how to properly train employees on allergen controls.
Thank you for watching. For free downloads to accompany this video series, visit the free training videos & resources page of our website.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel or follow us on LinkedIn to be notified of new educational food safety resources.