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Cleaning and Other Control and Validation Strategies To Prevent Allergen Cross-Contact in Food-Processing Operations

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Food allergies affect an estimated 10 to 12 million people in the United States. Some of these individuals can develop life-threatening allergic reactions when exposed to allergenic proteins. At present, the only successful method to manage food allergies is to avoid foods containing allergens. Consumers with food allergies rely on food labels to disclose the presence of allergenic ingredients. However, undeclared allergens can be inadvertently introduced into a food via cross-contact during manufacturing. Although allergen removal through cleaning of shared equipment or processing lines has been identified as one of the critical points for effective allergen control, there is little published information on the effectiveness of cleaning procedures for removing allergenic materials from processing equipment. There also is no consensus on how to validate or verify the efficacy of cleaning procedures. The objectives of this review were (i) to study the incidence and cause of allergen cross-contact, (ii) to assess the science upon which the cleaning of food contact surfaces is based, (iii) to identify best practices for cleaning allergenic foods from food contact surfaces in wet and dry manufacturing environments, and (iv) to present best practices for validating and verifying the efficacy of allergen cleaning protocols.

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: 1: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, National Center for Food Safety and Technology, 6502 South Archer Road, Summit-Argo, Illinois 60501, USA 2: Illinois Institute of Technology, National Center for Food Safety and Technology, 6502 South Archer Road, Summit-Argo, Illinois 60501, USA 3: Kellogg Company, 235 Porter Street, Battle Creek, Michigan 49014, USA 4: Medallion Laboratories Division, General Mills, Inc., James Ford Bell Technical Center, 9000 Plymouth Avenue North, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55427, USA 5: Ecolab, Inc., 655 Lone Oak Drive, Eagan, Minnesota 55121, USA 6: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, 5100 Paint Branch Parkway, College Park, Maryland 20740, USA 7: Charm Sciences, Inc., 659 Andover Street, Lawrence, Massachusetts 01843, USA 8: Toxicology and Analytical Services, Campbell Soup Company, Box 44-K, Camden, New Jersey 08103, USA 9: Pepsico, Inc., 617 West Main Street, Barrington, Illinois 60010, USA

Publication date: 2008-02-01

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