Food Safety Summit May 6-9, 2025
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Food Safety Summit

Podcast: Food Allergens and their Control in 2019 – Where Are We Now?

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Jenny Scott and Glenda Lewis speak about various aspects involved in the control of food allergens as it relates to food provided to the consumer at retail food establishments and in retail food stores, including recalls. Session highlights include gaining insights into the Codex document on Management of Food Allergens by Food Business Operators that is being developed by the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene (developed by Australia, the US and the UK); as well as understanding the public health impacts of food allergens, and the key provisions of FSMA Preventive Controls Rule.

Presenters: Jenny Scott, FDA Center for Food Safety & Applied Nutrition
Glenda Lewis, M.S.P.H., FDA

  • Food allergens are not a new topic, but is a topic of interest.
  • Now an increasing food safety issue globally, even though food allergies affect a relatively small issue of the population (3-4% of the U.S. population; 4-8% among children; 1-2% of adults).
  • Small amounts of food allergens can cause serious reactions (hives, swelling, etc.). 
  • Allergens can be inadvertently added to formulas/labels; old formulations are sometimes mistakenly used. 
  • Manufacturing practices have been updated; language about protecting allergen cross-contact has been added.
  • The FSMA Preventive Controls Rule also provides for sanitation controls; there is a crossover between food allergen controls and sanitation controls.
  • Codex Alimentarius develops international food standards.
  • Retail and foodservice control: there is an emphasis on managing menus to ensure that allergen information is current (including website menus). 
  • All relevant personnel should receive food allergen training as appropriate to their responsibilities.
  • The 8 big allergens are: milk, egg, crustacea, fish, peanut, soybean, tree nuts, and wheat. (but really more than 8, because tree nuts is a group—walnuts, almonds, pecans, etc.)
  • All 50 states + 3 territories have adopted the food code.


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