To fully integrate allergen control measures into a food safety management system, all food business operators need to understand the fourteen allergens that must be labelled if present in food products as defined in legislation.
According to the Food Safety Authority, an allergen is a substance, usually a protein, capable of inducing an allergic reaction. True food allergens have the following characteristics:
A form of food intolerance associated with a hypersensitive immune response
A so-called immunogloblin E (IgE) – mediated reaction in which antibodies are formed
Examples of food allergens are milk protein, egg white, fish and soya.
Food intolerance however is a reproducible reaction to a food which occurs without an IgE – mediated reaction (no measurable immune system reaction). An example is lactose intolerance – lacking the enzyme lactose which is necessary to digest lactose in milk.
The fourteen allergens as outlined in European Food Safety Legislation & BRC – Issue 5 are:
Milk / lactose
Nuts i.e. almonds, hazelnuts, etc.
Sulphur Dioxide (SO2)
Why do food manufacturers need to be aware?
During 2008, mislabelling of allergens accounted for approximately 50% of all food recalls announced by the UK Food Standards Agency and the US Food & Drugs Administration.
Our training course, details here is designed to give delegates a good understanding of Food Allergen Control including: understanding the classification of adverse food reactions, having an understanding of the Food Allergy reaction mechanism, knowing how to carry out allergen risk assessment/management, understanding how to validate cleaning operations and finally understanding product labelling/“May Contain”.