The HACCP self-control plan is the set of health and hygiene standards that regulates the regulations for the food industry. Among the topics covered, food allergens is one of the most important for customer protection. Find out how to manage this aspect in total safety in this article written by Tiziana Messina of Ehaccp , the platform where you can obtain the online HACCP certificate.

What are food allergens?

Food allergens are foods and their components with a higher allergenic potential than others. The real allergen is identified in one of the elements that make up a food. Some proteins, for example, may be truly responsible for any immuno-allergic reactions .
To protect consumer health and public safety, detailed legislation has been created at national and international level. The European Commission has provided all EU countries with the guideline to refer to when adopting national legislation.

What regulations protect the customer?

With article 44 of EU Regulation 1169/2011 , from 13 December 2014 the entire food sector is required to provide information on food to consumers , on the presence or absence of allergens in the products administered or on sale. It is also established that in the absence of national provisions, the communication of such information must take place in writing .
The legislative references and the list of substances that it is mandatory to report to the consumer may change according to the country in which you are located. For Italy, with the art. 27 of Legislative Decree 1078/2008 establishes the rules for the implementation of the European Directive on food allergens.

What are the obligations for a venue?

As also stated in the HACCP self-control plan, it is mandatory to communicate which food allergens are used and used by the activity in the preparation of the dishes. From the bar to the restaurant, from the wholesaler to the kiosk, anyone who prepares or even just supplies food products, both loose and packaged, is obliged to correctly inform customers about foods that can cause allergies and intolerances.
It is therefore an important responsibility for business owners and safety managers appointed by him. Non-compliance could cause heavy penalties , fines and above all a great risk to the health of consumers .

How to manage food allergens?

It is therefore necessary to know how to deal with the issue of allergens in practice. First, you need to prepare:
- the written list of allergens to be posted in an accessible point;
- a summary table of food allergens contained in the dishes on the menu;
- train personnel on risks and preventive practices to be adopted.
Find out what the procedure for the correct management of allergens provides, what to do and which documents must not be missing in a haccp self-control plan.

Which allergens are mandatory to report?

There are 14 mandatory food allergens to be reported in writing. The communication must be displayed in a clearly visible and easily accessible place, so as to be brought to the attention of customers. According to the HACCP self-control manual, the 14 mandatory allergens to be communicated are:
  • Gluten
  • Shellfish
  • Egg
  • Fish
  • Peanuts
  • Celery
  • Sesame
  • Soy
  • Mustard
  • Lupins
  • Milk
  • Sulfur dioxide
  • Nuts
  • Clams
However, the Italian and European legislation is still not exhaustive. New roundtables are active to meet the legislative needs of such a delicate field. The Italian Minister of Health, Beatrice Lorenzin, has expressed herself on the need to precisely establish the percentage of 'tolerable' allergens . According to Lorenzin it is important “to prevent a food safety problem from being transformed, due to an excess of self-protection on the part of companies, into a nutritional problem for allergy sufferers, or rather into the unjustified renunciation of various foods.
For years Techfood has been attentive to intolerances and allergies, which is why it has created some solutions for the preparation of gluten-free foods in complete safety. Discover the sweet gluten free offer .

( Tiziana Messina, Ehaccp )

September 25, 2017