Holchem's top tips on allergen management

Blog | 26 October 2015

Appropriate allergen management has always been high on the agenda of any food and beverage processing plant.  However, recent years have seen legislation and regulatory bodies becoming increasingly more stringent –meaning Allergen Management is now more critical than ever.

Allergen Management forms a vital part of our complete hygiene solution remit – meaning we not only have a history in understanding the processes involved but first-hand experience when it comes to delivering the complete solution.

Although that experience and history cannot be simplified– we have generated a list of our ‘Top Tips for Allergen Management’:

  1. Initial Factory Design

Designing a factory with the necessary hygiene levels in mind is key to delivering the right standards

   2. Be mindful of changes during factory build

During a factory build, designs and processes can change and it is crucial to always have in mind that these alterations should never negatively impact on hygiene standards.  If these aren’t kept in mind - it could not only result in expected standards not being met but could ultimately impact on the effective deliverance of expected and unexpected allergens.

   3. Avoid future expense

If the right decisions are made at the design and initial build stage, a factory can avoid unwanted expense further down the line.  This ensures the project is cost-effective but also goes a long way to protecting the brand from any risks related to a breach in hygiene standards. 

    4. Separate but together

Making sure that allergens are contained requires the correct separation of factory areas.  This stops allergens moving from a product where they are ‘expected’ to one where they are not.  For example, if peanuts are an expected to be part of one food process but not another within the same facility -it is critical that these processes are managed correctly and in respect of each other.

    5. Strict hygiene methods

Whilst this may be seen as somewhat obvious - both identifying and adhering to best hygiene methods is one of the most important factors for delivering successful allergen management.  If the methods are right you are sure to see the results.

    6. Product disclaimer – the only option?

In factories where a variety of potential items are produced under ‘one roof’ it can seem like the safest idea to stick a blanket disclaimer on to the package.  Whilst this has the advantage of providing ‘peace of mind’ for the manufacturers it can limit the number of potential customers buying that product.  The safest and most cost-effective solution is to ensure that a full allergen management plan is implemented before the food leaves the factory. Meaning that disclaimer labels would not always be required.

    7. Correct Equipment at all times

The right equipment plays a key role in optimising allergen management for any factory whether it be at the planning stage or even for those facilities that are being retrospectively fitted. 

Where it is not possible to design a factory from the ground up, these decisions can prove to be one of the biggest parts of ensuring that allergens are managed throughout the processing system, all the way from production to completion.

    8. How is your equipment installed?

Installing equipment correctly goes a long to ensuring the implementation of a successful allergen management plan.  Ultimately this would help any business reach the necessary standards that their clients and ultimately our clients expect.

    9. Training is crucial

The day to day management of allergens will, ultimately, come down to staff and whether they are meeting the requirements as set out in a hygiene management system plan.

Making sure that the correct training is delivered in the right way will allow confidence in the day-to-day hygiene standards being delivered, whilst the chance of problems resulting from allergens are lessened considerably as a result.

John Holah said on the management of allergens: Delivering the correct hygiene standards ensures that a business can have real confidence in the products they are sending out to customers and clients. Carrying out the correct steps both before and during food and beverage processing will ensure that allergens are controlled, with them being removed from and prevented from contaminating areas and produce where they are unwanted.