In Episode 3, you’ll recall us talking about the importance of allergen cleaning to remove allergen residues from shared equipment and utensils. In this episode, we’ll be presenting various allergen controls and touching on validation and verification.
Let’s talk you through the terminology
Validation is the process of gathering evidence to prove that a cleaning regime can effectively and repeatedly remove allergen soils. It is ideally carried out prior to implementation of the regime, essentially to demonstrate that the cleaning objectives have been met. Verification, on the other hand, proves that the validated allergen cleaning regime was performed correctly and remains effective, which is why it is carried out on an ongoing basis.
Neither validation nor verification should be done without completing thorough visual inspections, also known as physical audits. This is complemented by analytical analyses to test for example, finished products, work-in-progress, rinse water, flush material, environmental surface swabs or a combination all of these. When validating, it is best to use a method that yields quantitative results in order to establish whether allergen-cross contact has occurred after cleaning and if it has, by how much. Testing rinse water or environmental surface swabs using rapid and reliable onsite testing kits are ideal for supplementing cleaning verification.
When validating your allergen cleaning regime, make sure to prove that it can consistently achieve your cleaning goal by testing the same worst-case scenario, analyzing the same type of samples, and using the same testing method. If each data set shows that the target allergen residue was removed and no cross contact occurred, you can conclude that the regime was valid.
Without proof, we can never really be sure that an allergen cleaning regime is and will remain adequate and effective, therefore validation and continuous verification is a crucial part of effective allergen management.
In Episode 5 we’ll be highlighting some of the most popular allergen testing methods.