With the Food Safety Modernization Act’s preventive controls rule now in effect, it’s the perfect time to explore one of the most widespread issues in the food industry—allergen recalls. Let’s explore the issues at hand, the challenges, and the solutions.
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Explore this issueDecember/January 2017
Food allergens are a scary reality for many consumers. Roughly 3-6 percent of children and 2-4 percent of adults are allergic to one or more of the eight common foods that cause 90 percent of all food allergen reactions in the U.S. Known as “The Big 8,” these food groups include milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts (14 of them including coconut), fish (species specific), crustacean shellfish (species specific), wheat, and soy. The Big 8 are used in tens of thousands of food products that use one or more of these allergens as an ingredient in their formulation.
An allergic reaction can be triggered by a minuscule amount of any one of these allergens and the reactions vary, ranging from a tingling of the mouth and lips to vomiting and diarrhea, to respiratory difficulties, blood pressure issues, and even death due to anaphylactic shock. Every year, about 3,000 consumers die and tens of thousands seek emergency medical treatment to reverse the effects of their allergic reactions.
The only way allergic consumers can protect themselves is by completely avoiding the allergen they are allergic to. In order to succeed, this involves three fundamental principles: