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Food manufacturers offered advice on allergen management

By Laurence Gibbons and Mike Stones , 04-Feb-2013
Last updated on 04-Feb-2013 at 12:43 GMT

European manufacturers’ association FoodDrinkEurope (FDE) has urged food businesses to adopt allergen management systems that consider all operations − from raw materials sourcing and manufacturing to packaging of the finished product.

In a new report − Guidance on Food Allergen Management for Food Manufacturers – FDE set out five principles of allergen risk management, covering pre-packed foods that cause allergy or intolerances.

Those are:

  • Policy and guidance – operate within good manufacturing practice to manage potential allergenic risks
  • Supply management – conduct a supplier management review related to allergen risk and check allergen status of all raw materials
  • Manufacturing – identify allergenic raw materials and separate as appropriate. Avoid cross contact between raw materials
  • People – identify allergen management training needs of all personnel
  • Communication – ensure recipes, manufacturing, packaging and consumer information are produced with regard to allergen risks.

Legal requirements

The FDE said the guidance would go a long way to helping food companies to develop a consistent understanding of the risks from allergenic food across the industry. It also hoped the report would help food firms to “establish a food safety management system that is compliant with legal requirements”.

Allergen management in food businesses should be regarded as an integral part of existing food safety management rather than as a completely new system, it said.

FDE president Jesús Serafín Pérez, said: “The Food Drink Europe Guidance ensures a consistent understanding of, and approach to, managing allergens and certain food causing intolerances to a high standard throughout the European food industry. This will help minimise the risk to allergic consumers and enable consumers to make informed product choices.”

Food Standards Agency

Both the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the FDE’s British counterpart, the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) welcomed the new report.

A spokesman for the FSA told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “The agency welcomes the development of this European guidance document which will help food businesses to better understand allergen management and how to monitor and control possible allergen cross contamination.”

The FDE approach builds upon the previous FSA guidance, he added.

The FDF described the report as a “useful” document that builds on current allergen control and risk management guidance.  Barbara Gallani, FDF director of food safety, science and health, said: “The document provides very practical information to assist businesses in the development and improvement of their allergen management systems through all steps of food manufacturing.”

Read the full report here .

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