All staff (including temporary staff and contractors) involved in handling ingredients, equipment, utensils, packaging and products should be aware of food allergens and the consequences of them being eaten by anyone with a food allergy. All staff should be trained in avoiding cross-contamination of foods by the major food allergens.
Appropriate procedures on the control of allergens should be available and/or visible in the reception and production areas so that staff and visitors are aware of them.
Such procedures should include information on:
- potential allergen cross-contamination situations
- clothing requirements
- waste control
- cleaning procedures
- dedicated equipment
Potential allergen cross-contamination situations
All staff (including temporary staff and contractors) involved in handling ingredients, equipment, utensils, packaging and products should be aware of food allergens and the consequences of their ingestion by sensitive individuals. They should be trained in avoiding cross-contamination of foods by the major food allergens.
Posters encouraging staff to wash their hands after working with allergenic materials should be placed in areas where allergenic products are manufactured. Text could include:
'Always wash your hands thoroughly after coming into contact with allergenic products to avoid cross-contamination'.
To ensure that cross-contamination does not occur staff working in the area manufacturing allergenic ingredients must wear the correct uniform.
Rework is the material left over from production, which is often reused to make the same or similar product.
Care should be taken when disposing of allergenic ingredients/products. Allergens should be sealed in containers and removed from the manufacturing area to avoid being mixed with non-allergenic ingredients/products.
Very small amounts of some allergens, such as nuts, milk or eggs, can cause adverse reactions, including potentially fatal anaphylactic shock. Therefore, thorough cleaning that is effective in reducing the risks of allergen cross-contamination should be used. Particular food materials (for example powders) present significant cleaning problems, and any relevant industry guidance where this has been developed, should be followed. Adequate procedures must be in place for cleaning both production and packaging machinery. Where adequate cleaning is not possible the risk of allergen cross-contamination should be assessed and advisory labelling used, if appropriate.
Some manufacturers might choose to dedicate a production line or equipment to products that are free from particular allergens e.g. nut or wheat free. These production lines could still be used to make a number of different products as long as they do not contain that particular allergen.
Dedicated equipment could include balances, sieves, packing machines, storage bins or storage areas.