ALLERGEN CONTROL PROCEDURE
Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) have jointly identified 10 food
products which are primarily responsible for about 90 percent of severe adverse food reactions
among the Canadian population. These products are peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, milk, eggs,
fish, crustacean and shellfish, sesame seeds, and sulphites.
Symptoms of a food allergy can appear immediately after the food is consumed or can be
delayed. Immediate reactions can range in severity from a skin rash or a slight itching of the
mouth, to migraine headaches and to anaphylactic shock and death. Some test results have
indicated that it can take as little as 1-2 mg (or in some cases less) of the offending food to cause
allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. There is currently no cure for a food allergy, other than
to avoid eating the offending food.
Following are areas where allergen risks occur and can likewise be controlled and managed:
Consider the allergenic nature of an ingredient, is there a non-allergenic ingredient that could be
Design the product flow so that allergenic ingredients are added at the end of a production line
thereby limiting exposure
Dedicate production systems to handle only allergen or non-allergen products
Design and install equipment for easier cleaning, inspection and maintenance
Receiving Raw Material/Ingredients, Transportation and Storage (Shipping and Receiving)
Ensure suppliers have a documented and implemented allergen control plan
Know the ingredients; consider processing aids and rework that goes into the product
Review specifications or ingredient statements before substituting raw materials
Manage raw materials in storage to prevent cross-contact between allergenic and non-allergenic
Clearly label ingredients to indicate they contain an allergen
Production and Scheduling (Processing)
Production scheduling: make products with allergenic ingredients all at one time or at the end of
a production run, then perform a complete clean-up before running other products.
Develop an allergen matrix or changeover grid to identify what practices or production changes
need to be made between flavours or products (spray or full clean up).
Provide lockouts on equipment that uses or supplies allergenic ingredients.
Protect work–in-process from cross-contact from other products on adjacent carts, conveyors,
When sampling the product in-process, be certain that the sampling device is sanitized
appropriately between products.
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Allow adequate clean up time between production runs.
Labelling and Packaging Materials
Check labels on incoming ingredients; supplier may have sent the wrong product or used the
Verify label accuracy; update to reflect current formula
Ensure compliance to labelling regulations which generally requires declaration of all
ingredients; exception to this include spices, some colours, flavours and processing aids and
incidental additives at insignificant levels or that have no technical function or effect. If an
incidental additive or processing aid is derived from an allergenic ingredient, it must be included
on the label.
Consider cross-contact potential on packaging equipment
Verify product traceability; use a lot numbering system on raw materials to finished products to
ensure recovery of all products in an event of a recall, conduct a mock recall to verify
Have standardized procedures for sanitation operations (SOP’s) and ensure they are followed
Use appropriate cleaning methods (wipe/scrape, vacuum, soap and water wash, and approved
Have proper equipment and tools available.
Focus on hard to clean areas – valves, pumps, dead spots.
Ensure adequate lighting in the proper locations (including flashlights to check inside
Move equipment as necessary to make it easily accessible for cleaning; disassemble where
Focus on results, not necessarily the time or process.
Evaluate sanitation effectiveness; validation of cleaning by sight and ensure proper storage of
Ensure that maintenance tools used in raw and finished product areas are colour coded so as to
avoid cross contamination.
Specify employee practices – hand washing at appropriate items (for example after handling a
product that contains allergens, such as dairy products); proper hand washing procedures; clean
Training and Education
Ensure all employees have an understanding of the allergen prevention program so they believe
in its importance as a part of the facility’s food safety program.
Points include: define allergens, consequences to sensitive people, importance of allergen
control, most common areas where problems occur, and control measures.
Approved by HACCP Coordinator: __________________________ Date: _____________
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