The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has released new guidelines to assist meat, poultry, and processed egg product producers in properly managing ingredients that could trigger adverse reactions among consumers with allergies or other sensitivities.

“Our mission as a public health agency is to protect America’s most vulnerable populations, including children, from harm, and these new guidelines do just that,” says USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Al Almanza. “Beyond keeping our families safe, these guidelines also provide a useful tool to help food companies avoid preventable, costly recalls.”

In recent years, there has been an increase in recalls of FSIS regulated products caused by undeclared allergens. These recalls are usually prompted during labeling checks and are linked to changes in ingredient suppliers, products placed in the wrong packaging, or changes to ingredient formulations. Under new FSIS guidelines, “establishments are more likely to ensure that product labels declare all ingredients, as required by law, and that products do not contain undeclared allergens or other undeclared ingredients. The guidance covers prevention and control measures of potentially allergic ingredients, packaging, labeling, storage, checklists, and allergen training, among others."

These new guidelines are just one part of FSIS’ comprehensive efforts to reduce the number of allergen-related recalls.

Sign up for Food Safety Magazine’s bi-weekly emails!