Best Practices for Effective Allergens Management

Wednesday 26th May 2021 

Background

As part of the numerous events organised for the World Allergy Week, SGS hosted a webinar exploring key elements and best practices for developing effective allergens management programmes. Across the European food industry, allergens management is strongly regulated, as a result of the single market, because any error can have fatal consequences for a person with food allergy.

Fundamentals for effective allergen control include a dedicated allergen control team, an allergen processes flow diagram (allergen map), a risk assessment to determine allergen presence and management procedures, a facility-specific allergen control plan, and monitoring to ensure the allergen control plan is maintained and regularly updated, as required. From these basic guidelines, industry and food safety auditors design a holistic approach to minimise food allergy risks.

One of the major challenges for the industry is that food supply chains are complex and each element needs specific controls (e.g., identification and cross contamination) and updates including manufacturing processes, new product development or reformulation, documentation (records, due diligence), consumer information (labelling and legislation), people (training, culture and actions), suppliers (allergens management systems and risks), and raw material (intake checks, and storage, among others).

Main outcomes: 

  1. Food safety in general and food allergy, in particular, are highly regulated and controlled by public administrations
  2. Industry and retailers must comply with strict rules harmonised at the European level
  3. Technology has a role in prevention, as industry uses cutting edge techniques to identify hazards along the food chain
  4. A single analytical approach may not be fit-for-purpose or meet the needs of retailers
  5. Testing products with different techniques and parallel testing provide the highest certainty of allergen absence, although this ‘double-check’ may increase costs and the economic burden on businesses and/ or consumers.

This webinar was organised by SGS, a leading testing, inspection and certification company. 

Speakers:

Andrew Booth – Global food Technical Manager at SGS

Dionisis Theodosis  – Global Technical Development at SGS

Emma Ridley – General Manager at SGS

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