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HACCP allergen control program for your food business
Allergens are caused by proteins that can trigger hypersensitivity in consumers. Allergic reactions to foods can be ...
- Allergens are caused by proteins that can trigger hypersensitivity in consumers.
- Allergic reactions to foods can be life-threatening.
- A HACCP allergen control program is important to maintain food safety.
Have you ever had an experience where you eat something and your body reacts negatively? You get rashes, it becomes harder to breathe, or even getting a swollen tongue, face, or lip. These are common symptoms of allergies and they can be a result of what you consume. Food allergy is a common reaction to your body from ingestion, inhalation, or contact with foods containing specific proteins that offend your immune system.
The FDA has identified that allergic reactions to foods can range from simple itching to severe cases where the body develops respiratory problems called anaphylaxis. As such, food authorities have established allergy policy regarding allergens such as their declaration in the food packaging. As a food manufacturer, you have to create a safe food processing course for your consumers. A step to this goal is having a HACCP Allergen Control Program.
An allergen program is one of the crucial prerequisite programs of a HACCP plan as it involves critical control points. In America alone, about 50 million people are allergic to some types of foods. Studies have shown that at least 1 in 13 children has a food allergy which can be related to more than one allergen. To date, the most common food allergy is considered to be related to peanuts.
Most allergens are part of everyday raw materials, their use and contact with them can sometimes be inevitable. As such, a HACCP Allergen Control Program is an essential tool to uphold food safety in your organization. In this article, we will share the things you need to know when it comes to allergens and making an effective allergen control program.
Common food allergens
One of the keys to developing a good HACCP Allergen Control Program is the identification of which allergens can potentially contaminate your food products. Food allergens may originate from certain types of foods, but they can also be transmitted if parts of these foods reach another processing line. Some of the most common allergens identified and mandated to be declared in food packaging include:
- Milk - can include whey proteins and milk-derived products.
- Tree nuts - include almonds, walnuts, and pecan
- Wheat - can be in the form of any gluten, albumin, globulin, gliadin-containing product.
- Soybeans - can be in the form of lecithin or other derived products.
When the derived product is mentioned, the potential major allergen is written in parentheses alongside them. Alternatively, a product packaging can declare which allergens do the product contains or may have gathered from the processing line. These guidelines are all mandatory in making a HACCP allergen control program.
Goals of a HACCP allergen control program
The main goal of an effective allergen program is to prevent any allergen from contaminating products that are not intended to contain them and inform your consumers if any of your products may contain allergens. Specifically, a HACCP allergen control program is built to ensure the following:
- Identify potential allergens
- Prevent cross-contamination
- Proper labeling
- Proper documentation
- Build a proficient allergen control team
- Adhere to allergen policy
At FoodDocs, we help you build your HACCP allergen control program to strengthen your food safety credibility by using the most efficient HACCP software. This development by FoodDocs guarantees an effective allergen program in just an hour or less. Learn which areas are critical points when it comes to allergen contamination and their potential risks.
Components of an effective allergen control program
Part of an effective allergen risk reduction program on your HACCP plan is ensuring that the correct control measures are in place. An allergen control checklist is most helpful to achieve this goal by following some considerations for a food manufacturing facility.
- Supplier review - suppliers are mandated to secure a copy of the components and potential allergens that their materials may bring. Under a HACCP allergen control program, the supplier must provide formulations, specifications, and certificates of analysis for their raw materials.
- The flow of process - another crucial part of a complete HACCP plan is to identify the flow of the process using diagrams. In the process of doing so, routes of potential allergen contamination must be well-identified.
- Seminars and briefings for employees - knowledge of allergens is essential to identify and develop control programs for them.
- Production scheduling - a manufacturing company can often have a limited workspace which significantly promotes cross-contamination. A part of an allergen program is creating a synchronized schedule of processing where the products being manufactured would have fewer risks of cross-contamination. In between each processing, a thorough cleaning program must be added.
- Label policies - in addition to ensuring proper storage of labels, a thorough process of analyzing products and their ingredients must be done to ensure which ingredients can potentially have allergens. Regular updates of label information are also a part of a HACCP allergen control program.
- Allergen program review - along the process of manufacturing and constant developments, changes such as supplier substitutes are inevitable. Each supplier would have its own formulation which can affect the ingredient declaration. As such, regular review and updates are required in an allergen control program.
Identification and attention to detail for a HACCP allergen control program
Food allergic reactions can be serious problems for both the manufacturer and the consumer. There have been several records of incidents where allergic reactions have reached the worst cases. Improper analysis and identification of these allergens on your product, as well as a declaration of their presence, are violations of allergen policies and can endanger human lives.
As such, a company must have an effective allergen control program as a prerequisite to your HACCP plan. To build one, a thorough assessment of the whole production process from ingredients to distribution is a must.
FoodDocs helps you build a HACCP allergen control program using HACCP software. Powered by several information databases on food safety, your HACCP allergen program with FoodDocs is ensured to tick off all the boxes in an allergen checklist. Protect your consumers by building an effective plan for allergen control.