Can you explain "lateral flow devices" for me.
I wouldn't dream of calling a line "tree nut free" after CIP and ATP. For us we just call that "end of the day".
I was thinking more along the lines of CIP, intensive breakdown sanitation, then intensive ATP. How quickly can allergen testing get results? Perhaps allergen testing for verification before running anything tree nut free.
I don't think it would be possible. I am just trying to find out what has been tried and found successful.
As we expand into co-packing more ingredients we haven't used in the past crop up. as a pretty wet facility (hotfill bottling) we probably have few points of exposure. Since we are also mixed use Gluten free, and very occasionally run non-kosher on a kosher line (under "reverse" supervision and with kosherizing after) identity preserevation is a always a priority anyway.
Lateral flow devices can be found on the Neogen website. They are what is called the "Reveal 3-D" line. If you're familiar with a pregnancy test (sorry for being blunt), then that is pretty similar to what this is. You get 1 Line, 2 Lines, or No Lines to appear after testing depending on your result. It is not quantifiable, just a pass/fail. Therefore, this can only be used as a verification that your process or product is ok (after you've validated your program). We always did allergen testing between runs using visual, ATP, and specific protein testing via lateral flow devices.
Validation would require actual quantification (true PPM amounts - hopefully below detection limits). Product (or sponge swabs) would be sent to a lab, and you'd get your results. It may take several days to do one round of testing - it will likely take multiple rounds to complete a validation. I think the quickest turnaround time would be 3-4 business days, because you have to allow for the lab to get the samples in the mail, and then you'd be paying extra for expedited testing.
I feel as though I don't truly understand your "tree nut free" questions though. Not that I would ever recommend this, but you can produce a product that doesn't have tree nuts in it on a line that has gone through all the proper sanitations, validations, and verifications. Making any "tree nut free" claims though, I'm not sure you would want to do that. I'd opt in the other direction and state "processed on a line that does process tree nut ingredients" or however that claim's wording is supposed to be.
The original question was whether you could transition a company that produced tree nuts, back to a company that is tree nut free. The answer is, probably, if done correctly and thoroughly. I've never done it myself, but you'd definitely have to go through some intense (and expensive) validation processes to conclude you are tree nut free again. Basically, my point is the same as GMO's point above. I'd not be making "tree nut free" claims on a line where tree nut ingredients are used, and I'd only consider my facility tree nut free if and only if I had done enough thorough testing to conclude the facility is totally free of tree nut protein. This is very risky though, and always note that if you end up having a recall for it (or worse), you'd be the one that signed off on it.
Also to answer one of your other questions - if your allergens are in a liquid format, they are indeed a lot easier to manage. Airborne allergen powders are more of a risk because they get everywhere. So as you are a wet process (and hopefully the product you are dealing with isn't dehydrated), your validation might be a bit easier than for someone using powdered ingredients.
Edited by QAGB, 18 September 2019 - 05:41 PM.