12 FOOD SAFETY MAGAZINE
Food Safety Insights is a
Food Safety Magazine
and the food safety
market experts at
Strategic Consulting Inc.
to bring you the latest
market research, insights
and trends in food
safety, analytical testing,
services, sanitation and
related topics in quality
and safety testing and
assurance in the food
and beverage industry.
FOOD SAFETY INSIGHTS
Testing and Sanitation for
Reported strengths and
challenges of existing allergen
In our work in the Food Safety Insights program, many trends have emerged in our surveys with pro- cessors, but few have been more pronounced than concerns over control of allergens and the related testing and sanitation practices used as a part of the
processor’s control strategy.
To find out more, we surveyed approximately 275
food processors in 10 different food and beverage categories across 41 U.S. states and multiple provinces in
Canada on their concerns about their allergen control
and sanitation verification programs. We wanted to
hear about their most pressing problems and how they
are dealing with those key issues.
We started by asking about their top allergens of
concern and, to no surprise, the “Big Eight” allergens
(milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts,
peanuts, wheat and soybeans) were
the most listed (Figure 1), with ap-
proximately one out of three processors
specifically listing tree nuts or gluten as
their top concern and one in four list-
ing milk or soy. Beyond these allergens,
mustard and sulfites also made the list,
as these are priority allergens in Canada.
Canadian processors and U.S. proces-
sors with Canadian SKUs listed one or
both as a concern for their program.
Canada’s food and drug regulations list
11 priority allergens, including mustard,
sulfites and sesame seeds (although ses-
ame seeds were identified as an allergen
of concern by only one respondent).
We asked not just about top allergens but about all allergens and looked
at the responses by processor type. The
results showed that each processor type
had their expected specific concerns
(i.e., milk and eggs for dairy, nuts and
peanuts for fruit and vegetables). Also,
as expected, the data confirmed that
prepared and processed foods companies, with the greatest numbers of
recipes and use of different foods, had
the broadest levels of concern, with
more than one of two respondents listing milk, gluten, soybeans, eggs and tree
nuts as key concerns and one in three
listing peanuts, fish and shellfish.
By Bob Ferguson
Figure 1. Top Allergens of Concern