Taking the ambiguity out of allergen management

Even more so in recent years due to the tragic events that triggered the introduction of Natasha’s Law – the new labelling legalisation relating to pre-packed for direct sale (PPDS) foods that will be enforced in England from October 2021. The current legislation does not require every allergen and ingredient to be listed on individual freshly prepared products, but instead it just needs to be available upon request, Natasha’s Law changes this. 

Though this is a great step forward in the café and deli industry, where PPDS foods are typically sold, there is still so much more to consider when it comes to allergens and public safety throughout the entirety of the food industry. 

With 14 recognised allergens to consider, having a better understanding of ingredients, processes, testing and limitations would be of great benefit to any food enterprise looking to protect their customers (foremost) as well as their business from financial and reputational damage in relation to allergens.

Factors to identify risk

Considering the ingredients list and where the raw materials are processed or produced, and the chances of incidental or even intentional substitution are important factors to identify risk and subsequently inform a programme for testing.

Garlic is a good example. It is a root crop and has often been grown in rotation with peanuts (groundnuts). Peanuts are a legume and are used for fertility building so work well in rotation with garlic – however, it introduces an additional (unexpected) risk with garlic. Turmeric (another root crop) can also be grown or rotated with peanuts. Understanding production risks upstream is important in assessing risk. Where is your material coming from? What risks are associated with this? 

Source: foodmanufacture.co.uk