Allergens: A Closer Look

3013714061_ceda6b7ea8_qThe Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has published Directive 7230.1, Ongoing Verification of Product Formulation and Labeling Targeting the Eight Most Common (“Big 8”) Food Allergens. This directive instructs agency employees how to verify that inspected establishments are controlling and labeling the eight most common allergens. The “Big 8” allergens — wheat, crustacean shellfish, eggs, fish, peanuts, milk, tree nuts, and soybeans – account for approximately 90 percent of food allergy reactions. FSIS was prompted to issue the directive because of an increase in the amount of recalls for products produced in FSIS inspected facilities. Last week alone there were four separate recalls for undeclared allergens totaling over 60,000 lbs. of product. This directive applies to IPP in egg products plants and in meat and poultry product establishments that produce product in the following HACCP categories: (1) Raw – non-intact (03B); (2) Raw – intact (03C); (3) Thermally processed commercially sterile (03D); (4) Not heat-treated, shelf stable (03E); (5) Heat-treated shelf stable (03F); (6) Fully cooked not shelf stable (03G); (7) Heat-treated not fully cooked not shelf stable (03H); and (8) Secondary inhibitors not shelf stable (03I). If you produce product in one or more of these categories then you can expect your inspector to talk with you about this directive at your next weekly meeting, if they have not done so already. Verification is set to begin April 12 and will happen on a monthly basis. Look for the April issue of the AAMPlifier for more in-depth information on the directive.