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Three steps for an effective allergen control plan.

: 3 steps for a food allergen control plan

As food allergies become a growing health concern worldwide, the risk of food recalls due to allergen contamination has manufacturers reconsidering how their products are packaged, labelled, and processed.

According to the USDA, the number of recalls due to undeclared allergens and ingredients considered a public health concern increased from 13% in 2008 to 35% in 2012. This trend has exposed vulnerabilities in some allergen control plans and it highlights a need for better allergen control management.

Food Safety QA

Three key components of allergen control plans.

When it comes to developing an effective allergen control plan, 3M Food Safety Senior Microbiologist Dr. Gabriela Lopez-Velasco advises that “[e]very function or operation should ensure that the required actions to minimize the undesired presence of allergens are being adhered to and are working.”1 

She also highlights three key steps to creating and implementing an effective allergen control plan:

  • Risk assessment – Run a hazard analysis to help identify potential food allergen sources and map the path through the manufacturing process.
  • Risk management – Develop instructions, processes, and standard operating procedures to help control the possibility of unintentional allergen contamination.
  • Risk communication – Make sure food labels are clear and accurate. Develop a communication plan to keep everyone along the supply chain informed.

Allergen control management can be complex. This is why allergen control plans require a team commitment. If everyone along the supply chain understands the role they play in food quality assurance, they become an important part of developing, implementing, and maintaining Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and allergen control standards.

Catching contamination errors early.

Even with processes in place, contamination errors can still occur. A crucial part of every allergen control plan is validation testing and allergen detection. In a fast-paced world, it’s important for manufacturers to get fast, reliable test results, whether they are spot testing or performing regular testing as part of their standard allergen control process.

3M Food Allergen Detection Products are designed to help you get fast, accurate results that you need. From raw to finished food products, 3M’s broad portfolio of assays, lateral flow tests, and surface swabs make it possible for manufacturers to detect both processed and unprocessed allergen proteins in food and beverages.



About the Author

[enBio=A microbiologist by trade, Ana Maria has over 12 years of experience working in the food industry, including dairy products, ice cream, water, condiment and dressing products. Her diverse expertise ranges from quality assurance, quality control, good manufacturing practices (GMPs), good laboratory practices (GLPs), hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) system, and research and development. She’s also an internal auditor of ISO9001 and SQF practitioner. ],[enJob=Professional Services Representative, Food Safety Division, 3M Canada],[frBio=Microbiologiste de profession, Ana Maria possède 12 années d’expérience au sein de l’industrie alimentaire, y compris dans les domaines des produits laitiers, de la crème glacée, de l’eau, des condiments et des pansements. Sa vaste expertise inclut l’assurance de la qualité, le contrôle de la qualité, les bonnes pratiques de fabrication, les bonnes pratiques de laboratoire, l’analyse des risques aux points critiques (HACCP) et la recherche et le développement. Elle est également vérificatrice interne relativement à la norme ISO 9001 et praticienne SQF. Ana Maria joue un rôle actif au sein de la communauté de la microbiologie à titre de membre de l’AMQ (Association des microbiologistes du Québec).],[frJob=Représentante des Services professionnels, Division des produits de sécurité alimentaire, Compagnie 3M Canada]

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