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The Importance of Allergen Control

on April 2, 2019

For those who work in food or beverage manufacturing, making sure cross-contaminants don’t infiltrate production lines is of constant concern.

The “Big Eight” – the food allergens peanuts, milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, wheat, tree nuts, and soybeans – are among the culprits forcing recalls in the food and beverage industry. It can be expensive for a manufacturer to announce a recall and eventually lose sales when a contaminated product is dumped. Beyond product, such instances can damage a company’s reputation and their bottom line.

This is why everything in a production facility must be accounted for with an allergen control program. Designing a customized plan is even more crucial with the Food Safety Modernization Act, which regulates everything from how food is processed and packaged to its handling and storage. These new regulations and higher standards have caused many food processors to push for improved cleanability in their equipment. They demand machines and control processes that make things easier to clean and maintain in an effort to stay ahead of a potential crisis.

Process automation technology such as clean-in-place (CIP), batch systems, and raw ingredient control are among the ways food and beverage manufacturers can boost sanitation efforts and manage quality. For instance, CIP systems – a necessary part of any food manufacturing operation – can be improved to maintain product quality and safety through residue removal, effective rinsing, shortening cycle times and promoting both product and worker safety. Data reporting and automation capabilities can help streamline food safety efforts and response time if something goes wrong. Other solutions include assisting with efficient record keeping and lot traceability, expediting response time and increasing accuracy to minimize the impact if a recall is in effect.

ESE helps customers with allergen control. For example, we recently helped a Virginia dairy company upgrade four existing CIP systems with ESE designed configurable CIP software packages. The plant is now able to prevent cross-contamination from the recovered water. And they are now able to save water, chemicals and time from the HMI screen without programmer intervention.

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