Compliance of food allergen labeling requirements, within the bakery industry

  • By Neil Cook
  • April 27, 2017
  • Food
  • Baked

Food safety is a key concern for all food producers. Researchers from FARE estimate that up to 15 million Americans have food allergies. Due to the wide variety of ingredients, it’s critical that consumers can easily identify potential allergenic ingredients clearly and easily. Nutrition labelling and a clear listing of allergens have become standard here in North America, as supported by the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, regulated by the FDA. The mandated nut-free labelling of packaged food brought into our schools is such an example of the direction this is heading…and showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, using this example, food allergies affects 1 in every 13 children (under 18 years of age) in the U.S. That’s roughly two in every classroom.

Allergen regulations

All packaged foods regulated by FDA under the FD&C Act that is labelled on or after January 1, 2006, must comply with The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) labelling requirements. FALCPA is an amendment to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and requires that the label of food that contains an ingredient that is or contains protein from a "major food allergen " declare the presence of the allergen in the manner described by the law.Failure to comply with these requirements can have severe effects on business. This includes litigation and, worse still if negligence were to threaten consumer health, the overwhelming reputational damage could be immeasurable.

>> Related: Infographic: Changing the Face of Food Traceability

>> Related: Allergens: Ready meal coding and the lethal self-service scam

Scalable and viable solutions

As a result, companies need to sure they have a fully scalable coding solution that includes primary variable message design tools and a database management system that can automatically extract the correct information and highlight allergens and intolerant substances in different fonts, sizes and formats. As a result of these technologies, compliance is achieved while keeping operator intervention (and associated errors) to a minimum thus maximizing output.

“Information on the presence of food additives… and other substances or products with a scientifically proven allergenic or intolerance effect should be given… Food labels should be clear and understandable in order to assist consumers who want to make better-informed food and dietary choices.” EU Regulation 1169/2011 (Section 24-26)

For larger brands, this can be easily justified with requirements for numerous packaging formats of each product type. In comparison, however, for smaller artisan producers who only want an effective solution that can help reduce cost, the investment can be unattainable in the short-run.

Domino offers fully scalable operational leasing which can help businesses spread the cost over a longer period, ensure maximum uptime, and keep their printing and coding solutions up-to-date.

By having the right printing solution in place, one that delivers both the correct code data and the required allergens information, businesses can meet their labelling obligations, while also keeping costs to a minimum to protect profit margins. Learn how you can fully achieve allergen labelling compliance while maximizing your profitability. Contact Domino today to discuss your options.

Otherwise, to find out more about the legislative changes to allergens and what that could mean for your organization, be sure to check out ‘Allergens and the agenda for change’.

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