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Allergen control in production

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 11:12 PM

Howdy Y'all.  


I have a query concerning allergens, namely milk.  Our production area contains two break rooms, both of which whilst adjacent to production are still segregated from production.  These break rooms have coffee making facilities and in conjunction with that also has milk.  Milk is not used in any shape or form in our production process as we only wash and package fresh produce.  We have procedures in place not allowing any milk products on the production floor.  We had a customer come into our facility and he nearly went off his nut at the fact we had milk in this break room saying it was way too close to the product, which the closest product or packaging was  20m away and through a closed door.  We had an audit the week before and nothing was mentioned about the milk in the break room fridge.


My question is should we not be keeping milk in this fridge even though we are not only packing low risk product that is 20m away from the product being packed but also has a very clear and defined barrier in between?


input greatly appreciated


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Posted 06 January 2015 - 01:33 AM

Did you show your customer your risk assessment? Including the training of people on Allergen control and GMP's (Proper Hand washing techniques).


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Posted 06 January 2015 - 02:02 AM

So he was worried about milk ? Didn't he care that they might have gluten in their sandwiches? Or mustard on their sandwich ? Or butter? Or celery in their soup ? Or cheese? Cream in their gluten free cake?

A little knowledge is dangerous !!!

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 08:02 AM

Agree with cazyncymru - this customer sounds like a bit of an idiot (probably don't say that to them... :silly: )

It is not based on distance per se but rather controls and risk. 

I would think there is way more risk of peanut butter or crumbs than milk from a bottle making its way into product in another room.

You just need to show due caution and risk management here, no dramas.


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Posted 06 January 2015 - 08:07 AM

Agreed, you should have risk assessments, policies and training to cover allergens on site. If you are not removing protective clothing and hand washing this would be a concern.






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Posted 06 January 2015 - 02:35 PM

I agree with all of the above. Training on allergen contamination, proper GMP training (including handwashing and uniform contamination awareness.... you can use protein swabs on equipment just out of the production room doors to validate the presence or absence of allergenic proteins. Also you can use historical evidence. If you have product tested for the presence / absence of allergens you can use these results as part of the evidence in a risk assessment. Not to mention, even if you were eating a PB&J sandwich with a large glass of milk, then returned to work without washing your hands, the ppm of allergenic proteins that could be detected on hands/ clothes is statistically insignificant. Swab your employees hands/ uniforms!! Data and research can be your best friends when dealing with snooty customers giving you a hard time.


Prove to the customer how and why you know having allergens in the break room is of no concern to their products and they wont have a leg to stand on. They can voice their opinion, but you can too. In the end, if they are giving you business and you want to keep them happy, and you aren't doing some of the above options, tell them you appreciate the input and will consider further verification of the current policy.


**Edit: I guess I should also be saying, please keep in mind people with extreme food allergies, or that have witnessed sever anaphylactic shock episodes are often very vigilant and over-cautious about allergen contamination and can be sensitive about the matter. If you can not demonstrate absence of allergens in your products because of your break room locations or the content of people's lunches then a change should be made. However like Caz had mentioned... start removing things from vending machines and forbidding lunch items like P.B. and milk and you are headed down a very slippery slope.

Edited by it_rains_inside, 06 January 2015 - 02:58 PM.

"Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be"

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