Setting up and implementing an Allergen Control Plan in any food business is fundamental in preventing allergen cross-contamination. It is vital that food businesses understand their own processes and products and identify, manage and communicate allergen risks to their staff and customers who have allergies to certain foods.
It is a legal requirement to identify specific allergens on food labelling
What should be included in an Allergen Control Plan?
The plan should identify which allergens are held on site and how they are handled, monitored and controlled. You can do this by looking at:
- Raw materials specifications
- Suppliers – assess what allergen risk they may present
- Production Process- potential for cross contamination.
- Site controls for staff food
Once identified, you need to document what controls are in place to avoid allergenic cross contamination, such as,
- Intake controls
- Storage and Segregation
- Dedicated equipment (Allergen spillage kit)
- Production Scheduling
- Extra protective clothing for staff.
- Cleaning – e.g. Deep clean between production of non-allergenic and allergenic products, validation of cleaning using swabs etc.
- Staff Training – in the subject and site controls. Knowledge is Key!!
The 14 allergens are:
- cereals containing gluten – including wheat (such as spelt and Khorasan), rye, barley and oats
- crustaceans – such as prawns, crabs and lobsters
- molluscs – such as mussels and oysters
- tree nuts – including almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios and macadamia nuts
- sesame seeds
- sulphur dioxide and sulphites (if they are at a concentration of more than ten parts per million)
If you need any help in setting up an Allergen Control Plan, or would like a review of your current Food Safety System please contact us