Undeclared allergens or incorrect allergen labeling is the number one reason for recalls globally.
According to the FDA’s Reportable Food Registry, undeclared allergens rose from 30% of all reports in 2009 to 43.6% in 2013. Undeclared allergens are a significant health risk for 15 million Americans suffering from food allergies, with more than 200,000 emergency department visits occurring each year.
Proper control of allergens must start the moment ingredients come into a facility. During receiving, the following procedures should be followed:
- Load histories should be obtained for bulk deliveries to exclude non-compatible materials
- Proper segregation of allergen and non-allergen materials on the same truck (front or rear loading), no double stacking of different allergen containing materials
- Identification of allergen-containing materials at receipt is essential; a list of ingredients can be developed for reference
- Products should be color-coded with tags or other distinguishable means
- Review the ingredient declaration on the package and material specifications sent by the supplier to make sure all the allergens contained in the product have been accounted for
- Beware of changes by the manufacturer