In the food and beverage industry, it is incredibly important that all companies work to keep their cross-contamination to a minimum. There is always the chance that a product could cause a severe allergic reaction that would have serious consequences for the business.
Here is a guide to help keep cross-contamination to a minimum in your business.
It is incredibly important that all members of staff are able to easily identify those products which are most likely to cause an allergic reaction. More often than not, the best way to do so is with the introduction of clear labelling.
All products that have potential allergens in them need to be labelled so staff are aware that they could cause an issue if allowed to mix with others.
This labelling also needs to continue to any packaging that is used in products when presented to the public. This is actually a requirement by law – and it is crucial in helping customers navigate the foodstuffs that they can and can’t eat.
You need to make sure that allergens are always clearly labelled, in addition to a statement that they have been handled in that environment, if this is the case.
Using the right traceability system is incredibly important for making sure that cross-contamination does not happen. With a traceability system, ingredients can be tracked and measured at every stage of the operation. This will help to ensure that nothing is added accidentally, be it an ingredient with an allergen or something that could mess with the overall quality of the product.
There should also be records of the ingredients used in each part of the production process, and a record of the staff who are responsible for introducing them to the recipe. Should there be a need to trace it back after an incident, it should be much easier to discover where the error lies.
In cases of extreme allergic reactions, it will often prove necessary for a company to invest in separate pieces of equipment for certain procedures. Severe allergic reactions are often caused by foodstuffs like nuts or gluten and even fine particles of these can cause fatal reactions.
By having separate pieces of equipment that are used only for these allergens and others, it means that there should be less chance of a cross-contamination. It is crucial that all staff members are aware of the restrictions on these pieces of equipment, and that they are willing to ensure that cross-contamination is prevented.
There are no excuses – cross-contamination must be kept to a minimum as much as possible. Clear labelling and good manufacturing practices like separate equipment and traceability will all contribute massively to this.
A company cannot afford to let its standards drop at all. No matter what, they have to be actively working to avoid cross-contamination so they can always deliver as high a quality product as possible. No matter what, a company needs to be committed to delivering products that are safe for their consumers to enjoy.