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Do we need to tell employees which allergens they can bring for lunch?

Allergens employees lunch

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 05:58 PM

According to SQF 8 ( An assessment of workplace related food allergens from locker rooms, vending machines, lunch rooms, visitors), do we need to do risk assessment of allergens brought by employees in their lunches?

Our employees changes their aprons before lunch but do not change their uniform?

Do we need to tell them which  allergens they can bring for lunch and which not?


Lockers : I absolutely allow no food in locker room and inspect the lockers randomly .




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Posted 07 December 2017 - 06:59 PM

Assess the risk and apply controls as necessary. In my facility the only control deemed necessary is hand washing after lunches and breaks, since clothing needs to be "clean" anyway.

Austin Bouck
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Consulting for companies needing effective, lean food safety systems and solutions.

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A Food Professional

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 08:45 PM

Hi Blossom


Yes SQF 8 has added risk assessment from vending machines, lunch rooms, lockers, visitors, employees and suppliers. It was not explicit before but it was part of consideration of allergen management always. I am sure it would have been assessed at your site while defining pre requisite programs / GMP procedures. All you need is to formally document is and do a risk assessment in case it was not done before, taking into consideration these factors. For eg.


Lunch room is of course a definite source of allergen specially if employees bring their own food with them. In this case risk can't be removed but it could easily be mitigated by ensuring a clean area before lunch room and production area. As well as a pass-through procedure that should include sanitization. Keeping allergen aside, it is basic GMP and covers allergen management too. You just cover it in your allergen risk assessment as well. BUT here is one important point that lunch boxes should not pass through production area even enclosed. Otherwise it need another risk assessment.




If visitors are wearing overall or similar then it also covers risk.

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Ryan M.

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 09:40 PM

Good luck with telling your employees what to bring for lunch....no,  you need to assess the risk and apply control measures (which can be a number of things).  You may find there is little to no risk depending on your process and the employee interaction in the process.


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Posted 05 April 2019 - 08:19 PM

Hello gang,


Rather than start a new thread, I thought maybe I could get away with asking a relevant question.


We are a paper converting company and deal with some food grade papers, and so we are pursuing SQF certification in fall of this year. Had a question regarding employees and lunch boxes that I hope we can get some assistance with. 


Our employee entrance currently is adjacent to the employee parking lot. From the moment you enter this door, you're in a production zone. When they enter the building in the morning, no machines are active. They carry their lunch boxes through a production area, then a warehouse area, then enter the break room where they place their lunch boxes and prepare for our morning staff meetings. My question is this: will a risk assessment that determines lunch boxes only (no walmart plastic bags, etc) with a zipper or velcro enclosure are approved to pass through these zones? And what about employees that want to eat their lunch in their car and pass back through during production hours? 


Looking forward to your advice and wisdom.



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