Breaking News

Food allergen testing is required to improve food safety

Testing food products for allergens is growing as there is a demand for safer foods. Since a number of food recalls internationally have been allergen related, concerns have been raised and allergen food testing has become an important aspect of food safety.  Besides concerns about food safety, an increase in the number of food allergies has also prompted specific allergen food testing as allergies do not just impact the quality of life but could also be life threatening.

People who suffer from lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance and celiac disease have also increased. Food industries have now adopted regular testing for food allergens to ensure their food products are safe and labelled for the most common allergy causing products. Commonly recognised foods that cause allergies are peanuts, other nuts, wheat, gluten, milk, eggs, shellfish, soy, etc. The most common allergic reactions are vomiting, and hives,stomach upset, eczema, allergic rhinitis, wheezing and even anaphylaxis. Therefore food manufacturers need to assure safety of people by regularly testing their food products and labelling the pre-packaged foods correctly.

All food labs are not equipped to check all allergens so food testing of your products must be carried out in food labs that are equipped to check the allergen that your food product could contain. Food manufacturers on their part must provide detailed information about the additives, contents they have used in their products. They must also point out if there has been any risk of cross contamination in their food products. All food manufacturers that adhere strictly to food regulations help support food safety and keep consumers safe.

According to the guidelines in the FSS Act 2006, all food manufacturers need to carry out food testing of their products through an accredited food lab. Food labs provide food testing for detection of allergens as well as the level of concentration of allergens. A food lab that tests food products according to international methods will offer more advanced allergen testing services.  As a responsible food manufacturer you need to ensure that the food lab is NABL certified and approved by FSSAI. Along with this if the food lab also has accreditation from BIS, CDSCO, ISM&H, APEDA, EIC/EIA, AGMARK then it is an added advantage as this means the lab is well equipped and uses the latest testing methods.

As a food exporter you must be aware of the kinds of allergens that need to be tested in the foods you export to various countries. For example for EU some of the allergens that need to be identified are gluten in cereals, peanuts and products that contain peanuts, almonds, hazelnut, walnut, cashews, pecan nuts, Brazil nuts, pistachio nuts, macadamia or Queensland nuts. Also products made of lupin, mustard, celery, sesame seeds and soyabean. Milk products and lactose, fish eggs, molluscs, crustaceans and sulphur dioxide. In the United States you have to clearly list on the label the top 8 allergen causing foods like peanut, tree nuts, milk, egg, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish.