Food allergen cross contact can contribute to your food business having to recall your food product from the market-place due to undeclared allergens. In this post, gain a greater understanding of allergen cross contact and how to avoid this issue in your food business.
Cross contact of food allergens is similar to cross contamination in regard to food safety. It may occur during receival, storage, preparation, food handling or food service.
Cross-contact happens when one food comes into contact with another food and their proteins mix. As a result, each food then contains small amounts of the other food. These amounts are so small that they usually can’t be seen with the naked eye.
You may not think that this is an issue but even a tiny amount of food protein has caused reactions in people with food allergies.
Cross contact can be identified as Direct or Indirect. Direct cross-contact is when an allergen is directly applied and then removed. Indirect cross-contact is when the allergen is not directly applied.
To give you an idea of where cross contact can happen in your food business I have put together a few examples that you may relate to. Prevention strategies have also been included for your reference.
It makes sense to use different equipment and utensils for allergenic and non-allergenic food ingredients, work-in-progress and finished product. But have you considered your cleaning equipment? This is a commonly missed area when preventing allergen cross-contact in your food business. The easiest solution is to make sure separate cleaning equipment is identified and used when cleaning in your food business. If this is not possible, ensure that the cleaning equipment is thoroughly cleaned between use.
To help you become more familiar or to refresh your knowledge in food allergens, my Allergen Awareness online course is now available. To find out more details on this on demand training, please click here.
Do you struggle with allergen cross contact in your food business? Have you ever had to recall food product because of an undeclared food allergen. Share your experience with the HACCP Mentor community by leaving a comment below this post.