With the introduction of Natasha’s Law in 2021, allergen management and labelling is more important than ever. Often the use of allergens in food productions is unavoidable. However, there are several ways you can manage their use in a food business to minimise the risk to allergen sufferers.
What allergen ingredients do I need to manage?
- Cereals containing gluten (oats and barley)
- Crustaceans (crabs, lobster, prawns)
- Molluscs (oysters and mussels)
- Sulphur dioxide and sulphites (for concentrations above ten parts per million)
- Tree nuts (almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews, macadamias, and pistachios)
How should I manage allergens?
1 – The ultimate way of managing allergens is to avoid the use of any of the 14 stipulated allergens, unless truly required. You should review recipes to see if an alternative non-allergen ingredient could be used. Also, when creating new dishes consider if they will introduce a new allergen to the premises. It is also essential that, when used, these ingredients are recorded on product specification sheets.
2 – Communicate with your suppliers and distributors. Make sure you understand how they determine allergen status as well as how they themselves manage allergens, most importantly of all, make sure you can verify the allergen status of products supplied to you.
3 – Whenever possible, use dedicated areas and equipment for the storage, handling, processing, and production of foods with a defined allergen.
4 – Organise and validate raw material supplies, production schedules and cleaning procedures, to prevent unintended allergen presence.
5 – Have a strategy to collect and collate information about complaints and possible allergic reactions to foods that are sold, and implement the lessons learned.
6 – Comply with the relevant labelling legislation, providing appropriate warnings to potential purchasers, regarding the presence of a stipulated allergen contained in a product. Complete a precautionary allergen labelling risk assessment.
7 – Have an appropriate system in place for the recall of any product found to contain a prescribed allergen, not indicated on the label warning.
8 – Create a positive food safety culture which drives and delivers safe food handler allergen behaviour.
For more information about Natasha’s law click here
If you need advice or support with your allergen management, please contact us. With strategic services and operational software solutions to suit businesses of all sizes we can help you manage food safety compliance.