We welcome you to the first episode of a 7-part series of videos where Comaine Van Zijl, Allergen Management Specialist, will cover a number of important themes surrounding food allergies – the impact they have and the most robust methods to manage them. Here’s what you can expect to learn in Episode 1.
What are allergies and why do they need to be controlled?
Food allergies are abnormal hypersensitivity reactions to an otherwise harmless protein in food. They are a growing global public health concern, which can occasionally even lead to death. Likewise, food intolerances such as glucose intolerance can include a broad spectrum of reactions. Then there are illnesses such as coeliac disease – a lifelong autoimmune systemic disorder triggered by gluten found in barley, rye and wheat.
Many regulators across the world have published legislation, standards or guidance documents on how to declare allergens on pre-packed foods. Food businesses need to control allergens:
- To ensure regulatory compliance;
- to drive food safety standard compliance; and
- to protect consumers from harm and, indirectly, protect its brand’s reputation.
The impact of food allergens on food businesses can be grave if not properly controlled. In the past decade, product recalls due to undeclared allergens have consistently topped the ranks in multiple countries. Often these recalls could have been avoided if appropriate, simple and robust allergen management plans were in place.
So, a lack of allergen control does not only lead to consumer reactions and potentially loss of life but it can also lead to food recalls which cost companies lots of money, diminishes consumer trust, leads to brand damage and ultimately a loss in sales.
In Episode 2, we’ll discuss common allergen management controls you can introduce to your food business.