Undeclared allergens are the leading cause of food recalls by the Food and Drug Administration, the agency says. This can cost manufacturers thousands of dollars a year and put consumers at risk for allergy-related issues.
One potential source of the problem, the FDA says, is labeling errors.
From the FDA website: “Recall data shows that such labeling errors occur most commonly because of the use of the wrong label. This may happen when similar products made with different ingredients, including allergens, are sold in look-alike packages.”
How, then, can you make sure you are in compliance and using best practices for your company and the public at large?
One way is by using Genesis R&D Food Formulation & Labeling Software.
Genesis R&D assumes the food is guilty until proven innocent. That is, all products are assumed to have all allergens unless confirmed differently. When you create a product in Genesis R&D, the program will initially show that the product contains all of the allergens you’re required to declare. In this U.S. this includes eggs, crustacean shellfish (by specific breed), fish (by specific breed) milk, peanuts, sesame, soy, tree nuts (by specific type), and wheat.
Only when you’ve confirmed that your product does not contain the allergen should you remove that allergen declaration from your product. Allergens can be removed at the ingredient level, to offer consistency for all products that use those ingredients. Allergens can also be removed and modified at the Recipe/Label level to accommodate individual product circumstances.
You can also add your own allergens to the database.
While we can help with one step of the process, it’s still up to you to make sure your production facilities are clear of allergen contamination and that your ingredient suppliers have done their due diligence as well.
For more information, this Genesis R&D tutorial covers best practices for declaring allergens on your label.