Baking & Snack - May 2021 - 85

" THESE CONDITIONS ARE PLACING ADDITIONAL
PRESSURE ON SITES AND STRETCHING OPERATIONS,
WHICH CAN IMPACT ON FOOD SAFETY COMPLIANCE. "
Jessica Burke, BRCGS

tific information shows no transmission of COVID-19
through food or food packaging, " said Rasma Zvaners,
vice president, regulatory and technical services,
American Bakers Association.
But airborne transmission remains viable, making
upgrades in HVAC systems and compressed air systems
a priority for some sites. Mr. Zaher noted that changing filters to a higher MERV/micron rating helps with
purity, and using point-of-use filters protects places
where compressed air comes into contact with products
or packaging.
" Many customers are now requiring their air to be
tested on an annual basis for yeast, APC/TPC and/or
mold, " he said. " Airflow studies are often conducted to
ensure adequate and proper flow of the air is occurring
to ensure that proper positive and negative air pressures
are achieved, especially in the high-risk areas of the plant. "
Ms. Reo pointed out other tests that have come into
increased demand over the past three years include
those for allergen adulteration, which has been the most
prominent item noted by the FDA from 2017-20.
" The baking industry sector tends to be the hardest hit
with allergen adulteration recalls, " she said. " Generally,
causes are found to be from labeling error or mis-labeling, missed ingredient on label or formulation error. "
Some of the biggest current recalls are centered on undeclared allergens. Mr. Zaher noted that an allergen program
that includes ingredients, packaging supplies, processing
aides, sanitation, storage practices, handling procedures
and employee welfare are keys to success. He advised that
sites increase the frequency of their labeling checks for
proper product packaging, annual reviews of a site's ingredients to prevent new allergens in raw materials and ensuring that old labels are discarded and not stored with new
labels. He also cautioned that sourcing from alternate suppliers and making emergency purchases can introduce new
allergens that were not present in the primary supplier.
And the list of allergens that need to be claimed on
labels must be updated avidly.
" The FASTER Act passed the Senate and now will require HHS to prepare a report for Congress that will include food allergy prevalence, testing, risk management,
disease prevention and treatments, " Ms. Reo said. " The
HHS report will also make recommendations for the development of a regulatory process and framework for defining
a food or food ingredient as a 'major foor allergen.' "

Foreign materials are causes for concern, even with
the advancement of foreign material control devices
over the years. To prevent metal and glass recalls, Mr.
Zaher said sites have been updating to metal detectors
with the capability of detecting smaller pieces of metal.
Color sorters and x-ray devices are being added for additional foreign material control, and shatterproof light
and window replacements in older production sites reduce potential glass breakage, he said.
Ms. Burke warned manufacturing sites that needed
to close down parts or all of production during the past
year are beginning to resume operation and will face enforced changes in the workplace environment, potential
labor shortages and supply chain disruptions.
" Some sites will be busier than ever with additional
demand, while others will need to pivot to introduce
new product lines, " she said. " These conditions are placing additional pressure on sites and stretching operations, which can impact food safety compliance. "
Quality assurance will not be allowed to be put on the
back-burner despite these conditions.
" In times of crisis, culture is more important than
ever, " Ms. Burke said. " As operations resume, leadership,
communication and empowerment are key. "

*

Maintaining
up-to-date claims on
ingredient allergens is
key to avoiding recalls.
Eli Lindauer

www.bakingbusiness.com / May 2021 Baking & Snack 85


http://www.bakingbusiness.com

Baking & Snack - May 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Baking & Snack - May 2021

Baking & Snack - May 2021 - Intro
Baking & Snack - May 2021 - 1
Baking & Snack - May 2021 - 2
Baking & Snack - May 2021 - 3
Baking & Snack - May 2021 - 4
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