I just enjoyed a long involved article from the UK entitled, “Free-From Food: focus shifts from allergen removal to catch-all”. The basis of the article for me was that 14 ingredients, by law (UK), are identified as allergens. A beautiful chart of the 14 allergen ingredients can be seen by clicking on the link below. Please open it. It is more than a boring list but also includes brief explanations. The allergen list is also in order of prevalence. Gluten came in as number 2 on that list. Essentially, free-from is becoming a catch-all term for the exclusion of any ingredients that don’t sit well with consumers. How many allergens do you have from that list?
Of course, few products claim to be free of all 14 allergen ingredients. Most free-from manufacturers focus on guaranteeing the absence of a smaller number of prevalent allergens that are relevant to their brand and consumers.
Allergen Management was a topic I never thought about. In a nutshell, generally only large manufacturers have lab facilities conduct their own ELISA testing. Smaller manufacturers may perform routine LFD tests themselves and then periodically send samples to an external lab to check for traces of allergens.
This article does not address cross-contamination. A topic I’ll explore later in Wednesday Wisdom.
Gluten allergen has regulated limits in the UK. Factory managers can instantly determine whether their products fall within the limits for gluten-free foods (<20ppm) set out in the Codex Standard. Yeah for gluten!
To keep this article simple, as I promised – bite-size wisdom, READ THE LABELS!