Product Recalls Fueled by Undeclared Allergens

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Product Recalls Fueled by Undeclared Allergens

In recent months, hundreds of products were taken off retail shelves after a spice supplier discovered their cumin spice contained traces of peanut proteins. Cumin is used across the U.S. by countless manufacturers in the products they produce, which understandably is a problem given the number of people who are allergic to peanut products. According to a recent article at Food Safety Tech, undeclared allergens accounted for 83% of all recalled units by the USDA, and 50% of all recalled units by the FDA (Food & Drug Administration). The cumin spice was recalled in December, however ramifications still occur every day according to the article, more than two months after the peanut proteins were identified in the spice. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) almost 15 million Americans have some type of food allergy, so undeclared allergens have become a major problem. The FDA claims that recalls involving food allergens occur most often with dairy and bakery products, candy, dressings, and snack foods. Other than peanut products, the most common allergens causing recalls of food products include soy, milk, and wheat. Mis-packaging, mislabeling, and unintentional cross-contamination are the primary reasons that recalls are issued involving undeclared allergens. Simple mistakes in the manufacturing process can result in major product recalls. This not only puts consumers' health and safety at risk, but can be extremely costly to manufacturers not only in terms of profit, but brand trust as well. Considering how complex the supply chain has become and globalization, it is easy to understand how ingredients could be cross-contaminated, or how a manufacturer may not be aware of a potential allergen contained in a spice supplied from a company either in the U.S., or from another country. Ultimately, all manufacturers should have a reliable and proactive recall strategy in place so that, if an issue does arise, a recall can be handled efficiently and easily. At Markem-Imaje, we are global leaders in the industrial coding and marking industry, providing not only exceptional marking solutions, but traceability and brand protection solutions as well.

January 10, 2014
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