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FOOD ALLERGEN UPDATE www.foodmanufacturing.com
“It really raises the awareness around all of
the associates at the facility about allergens,”
After production, packaging and label ver-
ifications are another line of defense to keep
allergens where they belong. She advised
checking for correct packaging material and
check labels during the product run. A master
of each label should be filed for daily com-
parison to a new label from the line. Labels
for new products should be reviewed and
scrutinized by an internal third party. Skybo
noted that sale samples and seasonal items
are just as important as year-round products.
Additionally, obsolete packaging should be
removed from the facility to ensure it’s not
confused with other packaging, which could
result in mislabeling.
“It’s all about continuous improvement,”
Coca-Cola Co.’s Global
The ingredients in most manufactured
beverages, excluding dairy, typically make
them immune from allergen content con-
cerns. But the trend toward protein in drinks
is changing the game for companies like
Coca-Cola, said Craig Llewellyn, director of
ingredient safety, global scientific and reg-
ulatory affairs, for the company. The Coca-
Cola Company is present in 207 countries
and estimates that 1.9 billion servings of
their products are consumed daily. Many of
those countries’ regulatory schemes are not
in harmony. In addition, the allergen portfolio
of each country may vary.
“We take [food safety] very seriously
because our risk is huge,” Llewellyn said.
Llewellyn stressed that allergen contami-
nation risks occur throughout the lifetime of
a product. Understanding this risk must be
an element of every stage of a product’s life
cycle, from research and development, engi-
neering and system design, raw materials,
labeling and packaging, production sched-
uling/changeovers, rework and sanitation.
In the production facility, manufacturers can
reduce cross-contamination with allergens
by simply limiting the use of allergenic ingre-
dients, he said. Once the product leaves the
facility, allergen labeling and advisory state-
ments must be appropriate and consistent.
“This is the way we communicate with
our customers,” Llewellyn said.
The recent trend of including of solids as
beverage ingredients creates challenges to
the standard changeover and sanitization
procedures for fluid products, he said. In
addition, product offerings in larger sizes
allow for an increased concentration of
allergens, which could lead to more of a risk
for allergen exposure in beverages than, for
instance, in confectionary products, he said.
Possible errors and oversights often occur
during the cleaning of shared equipment,
rework, switching ingredients, formulation,
labeling and packaging. Suppliers may fail to
“The biggest risk of all is human error,”
Llewellyn said. ◆