On-site allergen management with a rapid test solution
A perfect tool for implementing the allergen analysis as part of the food safety quality control assessment.
It is well known that food allergies are an immune system reaction to a food or a substance in food. Even a tiny amount of allergy-causing food can trigger signs and symptoms such as digestive problems, hives or swollen airways. In some people, a food allergy can cause severe symptoms or even a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis.
Food allergies affect an estimated 6 to 8 percent of children under age 3 and up to 3 percent of adults.
Coeliac disease is different from an allergy or food intolerance. The body’s immune system attacks its own tissues after the ingestion of gluten which causes damage to the lining of the gut and means the body can’t properly absorb nutrients from food. Coeliac disease globally affects one in 100 people, however it is believed that about 70% of people affected are undiagnosed.
The importance of allergen testing
In both cases (food allergies and coeliac disease), the only treatment is lifelong adherence to a strict allergen-free diet. For this reason, the EU Regulation 1169/2011 brings together EU rules on general food labelling (including allergens), alongside similar legislation in many other countries worldwide, which also require food manufacturers to label allergenic ingredients on food product packaging.
Considering that food allergens may be present as an ingredient but also inadvertently via cross- contamination, it is crucial that the food industry is able to maintain the traceability of the food production process, from raw material to final product. This requires the identification of food ingredients, components and additives, as well as the monitoring of any potential cross-contamination.
The best way to ensure traceability is to implement an Allergen Management Program, which includes adequate analysis at the production site.
Allergen Management in the production site
Allergen management comprises the procedures, policies and practices contributing to the control of allergens within a food business, covering all aspects of the food product supply chain and applying a documented, systematic approach to identifying and controlling allergens.
Two key aspects in implementing allergen management are Cleaning and Allergen Risk Review:
- Cleaning includes all the procedures to manage raw material spills, as well as cleaning the facility, equipment, and tools to prevent allergen cross-contact in place. Cleaning validation and verification can be monitored by surface or rinse water analysis.
- Allergen risk review is the allergen status of a food product. It identifies the presence of allergens that are intentionally formulated into a product, and quantifies (by using on-site analysis) the risk of allergens which may be unintentionally present (cross-contact allergens).
Rapid Test Solution from Eurofins Technologies
Eurofins Technologies, a supplier of test kits and systems for laboratory analyses, provides a new allergen testing product range called SENSIStrip lateral flow devices, which quickly detect the allergens that can be the source of any cross-contamination, and must be labelled on packaged food products.
SENSIStrip allergen test kits are based on the principle of immunoassay, a quick and easy-t
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