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Taking all available information into account, manufacturers should be able to determine whether the risk to any given product is high or remote, whether action needs to be taken to reduce risk and whether allergen warning statements are appropriate. This process requires specialist expertise. Food Allergy Support is working with a small group of industry experts to provide this.

 

Go to www.foodintegrity-consulting.com

Or contact David Reading at david.reading@foodallergy-support.com

 

For more general help: www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/maycontainguide.pdf

For information on thresholds, click here.

 

 

You may also be interested in the following sections:

 

Food labelling

Heating and processing of allergens

Training and other support

Sourcing 'allergy-friendly' foods

Food Allergy Support is here to offer information, expert guidance and training to the food industry.

Risk assessment

The object of an allergen risk assessment exercise is to safeguard allergic consumers, of course. But it can also help food companies avoid the unnecessary use of “may contain” statements.

 

Quantifying the risk posed by allergens in any given scenario requires careful consideration of various factors. For example:

 

How common are various food allergies (e.g. peanut as opposed to celery)?

What’s the cross-contact risk from allergens in different forms (e.g. liquid v. powder)?

What constitutes effective cleaning?

 

A further consideration is the relative allergenicity of the ingredient used. For example, refined peanut oil would not be a cross-contamination risk to other products; however, peanut pieces would pose a much higher risk.

 

Food companies also need an understanding of allergen thresholds. Unfortunately, scientific knowledge is not yet complete. For the vast majority of allergens, the elicitation dose – the amount required to trigger symptoms – is unknown. However progress is being made and by the end of 2012, regulators could be in a position to discuss action levels that industry can work to.

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