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Allergen Risk Assessment to Packaging


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TonyG

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 02:23 PM

I'm just doing a risk assessment regarding returnable packaging.

Within this there are a couple of questions come to mind that I do not know if there are real risks, or simply perceived risks due to my lack of knowledge.

Firstly, is essence of nuts applicable to all, or just some, types of nuts? I 'believe' peanuts to be strong in essence, but not so sure over tree-nuts. (My current concern is with tree-nuts)

Assuming essence from tree-nuts is also of real concern, situation is that cartons may be stored in close proximity to these tree nuts (~1.5m).... could the essence travel to the packaging, and theb be retained within the carton over, say, 2weeks (whereby the 'contaminated' packaging is returned to the supplier, re-used and new product shipped in, and then taken into nut-free production), and then have retained sufficient essence to be of concern if those cartons were then taken into a filling room during a 'free-from nuts' production run. It all seems unlikely to me ... but is there a feasible risk of them contaminating the product fill with nut-essence?

As an aside, I was wondering what they did on aircraft.... if a passenger has a nut allergy, the airline negates from selling nuts on board during that flight ... but what if nuts were being freely eaten on that aircraft on its previous flight? .. how much of a clean-down would they do in reality when often a flight makes a return journey within the hour?



SandyH

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 04:18 PM

Hi Tony G,

Certain people may be allergic to peanuts and tree nuts and also not all tree nuts. But both peanuts and all tree nuts are classified as separate allergens are are highly dangerous to those that are allergic to them. There is no difference in allergic reactions to the essences.

Please could you identify your returnable packaging as it is common practice to not re-use certain packaging due to possible cross contamination risks. Packaging should never be stored near ingredients either whether is a raw ingredient or finished product, regardless of whether its an allergen or not. Do you pack or manufacture other products other than tree nuts?

You would have to to an allergen risk assessment based on your process flow to identify all risks.




I'm just doing a risk assessment regarding returnable packaging.

Within this there are a couple of questions come to mind that I do not know if there are real risks, or simply perceived risks due to my lack of knowledge.

Firstly, is essence of nuts applicable to all, or just some, types of nuts? I 'believe' peanuts to be strong in essence, but not so sure over tree-nuts. (My current concern is with tree-nuts)

Assuming essence from tree-nuts is also of real concern, situation is that cartons may be stored in close proximity to these tree nuts (~1.5m).... could the essence travel to the packaging, and theb be retained within the carton over, say, 2weeks (whereby the 'contaminated' packaging is returned to the supplier, re-used and new product shipped in, and then taken into nut-free production), and then have retained sufficient essence to be of concern if those cartons were then taken into a filling room during a 'free-from nuts' production run. It all seems unlikely to me ... but is there a feasible risk of them contaminating the product fill with nut-essence?

As an aside, I was wondering what they did on aircraft.... if a passenger has a nut allergy, the airline negates from selling nuts on board during that flight ... but what if nuts were being freely eaten on that aircraft on its previous flight? .. how much of a clean-down would they do in reality when often a flight makes a return journey within the hour?



TonyG

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 04:31 PM

Hi SandyH,

Im the QA guy for a plastic basin that is going into a PE bag inside a cardboard carton and sent to a food manufacturer/filler. I am also the one who has been asked to do the risk assessment with regard to returnable packaging.

My question relates to the potentials of contamination due to 'essence'. Physical is straightforward, but can essence migrate over several meters into cardboard, be retained over 2-3weeks within the cardboard, then get reused and go into a food filling environment and that essence then migrate out of the cardboard over a few meters into food. Sounds all very implausable to me, but in todays world or ppm's and ppb's, maybe i'm wrong.

nb, nuts are a minority ingredient to our customer for 50weeks a year, but for 2 weeks a year they run nut-free. So, can a carton be contaminated by essence such that recycling of carton that has been in a nut zone, would affect a nut-fee declaration made on a food product under the scenario stated?.

Hope that makes sense.

Tony.



cosmo

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 09:48 PM

Hi SandyH,

Im the QA guy for a plastic basin that is going into a PE bag inside a cardboard carton and sent to a food manufacturer/filler. I am also the one who has been asked to do the risk assessment with regard to returnable packaging.

My question relates to the potentials of contamination due to 'essence'. Physical is straightforward, but can essence migrate over several meters into cardboard, be retained over 2-3weeks within the cardboard, then get reused and go into a food filling environment and that essence then migrate out of the cardboard over a few meters into food. Sounds all very implausable to me, but in todays world or ppm's and ppb's, maybe i'm wrong.

nb, nuts are a minority ingredient to our customer for 50weeks a year, but for 2 weeks a year they run nut-free. So, can a carton be contaminated by essence such that recycling of carton that has been in a nut zone, would affect a nut-fee declaration made on a food product under the scenario stated?.

Hope that makes sense.

Tony.


Hi TonyG,
The question is how much nut protein is in the essence?.
I would do some swabs for nut proteins on the packaging showing physical signs of contamination. This is a good comparison control.
Next would be swabs on returned/recycled cardboard packaging with no signs of physical cross contaimination.
I know it is not the full answer but this data will determine what next is tested and also indicate the level of risk you need to consider.

Cosmo


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