Many of us go to great lengths to identify and control different food allergens within our food business. We review and classify our raw materials and finished products for allergen status and we schedule production to avoid the potential for any food allergen cross contact. But have you considered what is in your staff vending machines?
Welcome to Week 12 of the Food Safety HACCP Challenge. This week you are required to review and assess the status of food allergens in your staff vending machines.
To complete this challenge I have included a copy of my Food Allergens in Vending Machines decision tree. This decision tree asks you a series of questions to help determine the best level of action to take.
Need a risk assessment template for allergens in vending machines? Click here
Impacts of food allergens in your vending machines
Any type of food allergen can have the potential to impact your finished product and your consumers. Food allergens originating from food available in staff vending machines can find their way into your finished products through cross-contact. This can occur as easily as staff not washing their hands effectively after eating food.
Under the spotlight
Staff vending machines are definitely in the audit spotlight when it comes to allergens. This is even more so when a food business declares that they do not have a certain type of allergen on site for example peanuts. I was presented with this situation in a certification audit where the auditee declared no peanuts were present on site. After checking the staff vending machine, it was discovered that packets of peanuts and also chocolate bars that contained peanuts were available for sale.
If you have found during this challenge that your staff vending machine contains food items containing significant food allergens that can impact your food business, let your supplier know that you do not want these types of food onsite. A simple sign reminding the supplier of your allergen policy maybe all it takes.
To make sure you keep on-top of this issue, add a check of the staff vending machines for food allergens onto your regular GMP audits. If you have not already completed a risk assessment for food allergens in staff vending machine check out this template that I developed to help with this process. A copy of the full risk assessment tool that I use for my clients is included in this template.
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So, how did you go with Week 12 of the #FSHChallenge? Let me know by leaving a comment below this post.