Food Production: Managing Risks through Effective Allergen Testing

If you are involved in food production, consider the importance of allergen testing. In general, food allergens are proteins that trigger an immune response from the body. These food substances are usually harmless to most of the human population. However, if some individuals consume the offending proteins, the body produces antibodies to fight the invasion. An affected person might experience symptoms like hives, swelling of lips and digestive discomfort. In severe cases, a person will go into anaphylactic shock. Therefore, you must understand the allergens in your food production line to protect consumers and avoid legal problems. Here are some tips for managing risks associated with allergens.

Know the Requirements

The requirements for allergen testing will depend on the level of food production. Consider your business structure with care and assess the related laws and regulations. Moreover, discuss the implications of allergens with your partners to avoid oversights. For example, if your company produces, transports or stores raw materials, you might need to report the possible allergens to the processor or manufacturer. This consideration is crucial if you handle diverse goods because of the risk of cross-contamination. For example, a non-allergic material can become dangerous after being stored or transported on a surface that once had a food allergen. If your business processes, manufactures or packages food, you must address the contaminants that could arise from raw materials. In addition, consider the possibility of contamination from your production line, including the equipment, reagents and human factors. If there are possible allergens in your setup, check on the allergen labelling legal requirements to warn the consumers.

Understand the Allergens

Almost all food proteins have the potential to trigger an allergic reaction in some individuals. However, some foods are available in large quantities on the market and are known to cause harm to a significant percentage of the human population. Under ideal circumstances, food production operations would test their products for all allergens. However, this approach is expensive and unrealistic. Therefore, you should know all the common food allergens and assess the risk of your raw materials or production line coming in contact. Then, conduct targeted tests for these allergens.

Consider Testing Methods

If there is a risk of contamination of your product by an allergen, testing is indispensable. The best testing approach will depend on multiple factors, including the specific protein, frequency of testing, management objectives and in-house laboratory personnel. Therefore, you should discuss the details of your production operation with a qualified analytical specialist for personalised guidance on food allergen testing.