Undeclared Allergens

Undeclared Allergens are a major cause of food allergy recalls, that have been on a notable increase since 2011. Reported food allergic reactions do underscore a public health concern, and this is not limited to the Big 8. The root causes of undeclared allergen recalls suggest that most are not for simply a trace amount of the allergen. During the research for this blog, I noticed that there have been 75 recalls from February to April of this year. Of those 75, 33 were due to undeclared allergens, 22 due to listeria, and 20 due to other causes such as Salmonella, Lead, and E-Coli.

Of those 33 recalls due to undeclared allergens:

Milk – 10
Treenuts – 9
Peanuts – 5
Egg – 4
Soy – 3
Wheat – 1
Fish – 1

The top 3 reasons for undeclared allergens leading to recalls are: cross contamination, pathogens and physical contamination. The solution to these issues is creating and implementing a strong Allergen Control Plan. An Allergen Control Plan details the steps that you can take to protect your customers from a potential allergic reaction. The purpose of an Allergen Control Plan is to prevent the following:

  • Labeling errors- Incorrect label, package, or ingredient statements, or ingredient statement omitting allergens known to be present.
  • Ingredient related errors- Formulation change, an external supplier ingredient contained an undisclosed allergen, or an allergen-containing ingredient was used where not intended.
  • Incidental contact- Allergen introduced into a product via a contaminated food surface.

It is very important for manufacturers to be sure that they have all the right protocols in place. An Allergen Control Plan (ACP) is one way to provide that structure.

Annually, there are more than 30,000 people hospitalized for anaphylaxis from food allergies, with 150 of those people dying from the reaction. This is according to the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN). “An estimated 4 percent of adults and 5 percent of children in the United States have food allergies”, according to a new release from NIH. With an increase in the number of those that have food allergies and the continued rise in undeclared allergens, it is vitally important that manufacturers take all the precautions they can to ensure they are providing safe products. A major piece of this puzzle is providing training for all employees.

We are pleased to announce that we have a solution for you coming soon! The AllerTrain Suite of Courses is expanding again, into an untapped market. The AllerTrain for Manufacturers course will be hitting the market place this summer, providing comprehensive training on food allergies, creating an Allergen Control Plan and handling food allergen complaints. For more information please email aller@menutrinfo.com

Leave a Reply

Rather not be ninja? Get a free custom avatar at Gravatar.