Food business operators are confronted with all types of risks that influence the safety of the food products. They are legally obliged to analyse the risks and take proper action to reduce or avoid these. Cross contamination with allergens is one these risks and there are no specific rules in EU legislation that guide the companies.
Currently, producers have two major options for risk management of allergen cross contamination, technical measures during production and/or a warning on the label, mostly something like “may contain traces of ….”.
Because there is no (legal) guidance on this issue every producer uses its own criteria and risk analysis to decide on options or measures. Cross contamination of allergens is also a chain issue, since cross contamination can occur at any step. If supplier and customer do not harmonize their approach and criteria (specifications) this may render cross contamination not recognized and consequently cause allergic reactions in patients.
Technical measures include physical separation of production lines, more stringent cleaning regimes, adaptation of recipes, and more…