Fda Releases Study On Cross-contamination
Posted 22 September 2006 - 05:43 AM
http://www.cfsan.fda...bat/alrgrep.pdf (Makes me think twice...)
The FDA's report to Congress regarding cross-contact with food allergens during
food manufacturing and distribution, and consumer preferences about advisory
labeling is out. This report was required as part of the Food Allergen Labeling
and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) and states that foods may become
unintentionally contaminated with major food allergens at almost any step of
manufacturing prior to final packaging. For instance, contamination can occur as
a result of allergens in raw ingredients or in processing aids, or as a result
of allergen carry-over from the use of shared equipment and from clean-in-place
fluid used to clean shared equipment. Dedicated facilities or production lines
can help control cross contamination, but their use is limited due to cost,
space limitations or equipment utilization needs.
It is difficult to determine the prevalence of cross-contamination for several
reasons, according to the FDA. Many instances of cross contamination are not
observable. For example, a raw ingredient can contain an undeclared allergenic
ingredient or processing aid. If the manufacturer doesn't know about the
presence of allergens in raw materials, they can produce food products that are
There is no known processing technology that can be used to automatically or
continuously exclude major allergens from all foods at risk of contamination.
However, good manufacturing practices help reduce or eliminate unintentional
cross contamination. A report prepared for the Center for Food Safety and
Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) states
the following: "Most food companies include allergen control as part of their
prerequisite program; most of the food companies have Sanitation Standard
Operating Procedures to delineate their cleaning practices in their allergen
control plan; the majority of the targeted food companies have validated the
effectiveness of their allergen cleaning approaches;" and "the majority of
included food companies train employees on an annual basis on topics related to
Between FY2002-FY2004, the FDA conducted over 2,000 allergen-focused
inspections. Investigators determined that allergen cross-contact was likely to
occur in 25% of all inspected facilities during processing of food products.
Sources of contamination included residues of allergen-containing product on
equipment, build-up of product above the processing zone, and presence of
airborne food particles. Overall, equipment residues were judged to be the most
likely source of cross contamination, followed by airborne food particles, and
build-up of product above the processing zone.
Investigators also determined that 76% of all facilities handled unpackaged,
exposed product in a way to protect it against cross contamination with an
Inspections done in FY2003-2004 found similar results with respect to receiving,
equipment, processing, testing, and labeling. However, for FY2003-2004, 79% of
the inspected facilities used one or more control measures associated with
production equipment to prevent allergen cross-contact compared to just 8% of
the FY2002 facilities. In the FY2003-2004 inspections, of the facilities that
tried to control cross contamination from equipment, 33% used dedicated
equipment, 74% used shared equipment with clean up in between manufacture of the
allergen containing product and the non-allergen containing product, 41% used
shared equipment with production scheduled to run allergenic product last, and
8.5% used other methods.
For facilities inspected in FY2003-2004, FDA investigators judged that 24% were
likely to have cross contact during processing compared to 25% in FY2002.
Data from the these inspections are not a representative sample of all
manufacturers using the most common food allergens, and the results should not
be generalized to all food production facilities, according to the FDA. The
facilities were selected based on certain criteria and not in an entirely random
fashion. Nevertheless, the results of these inspections provide insight into
current efforts to address the risks of food allergen cross contamination. Taken
together, the findings in the report suggest that a certain percentage of
facilities do attempt to address potential concerns associated with the use of
allegens in food products, but the extent to which a company does so varies.
Some companies did not apply any control measures in the handling and use of
gluten-free since Feb 2005
Posted 28 September 2006 - 09:37 AM
It does bring out the paranoia. I just think of stories of people dropping things, like body parts for example, in big vats of food and not reporting it
Though, now it just makes me even more paranoid about CC issues.
Perhaps with the added awareness, something will be done to address the very real issue of CC.
gluten-free since Feb 2005
Posted 28 September 2006 - 10:00 AM
I just think of stories of people dropping things, like body parts for example, in big vats of food and not reporting it
Now THAT'S something the FDA ought to be looking into!
"Not all who wander are lost" - J.R.R. Tolkien
Sister also Celiac
Risus remedium optimum est
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