New survey shows 76% of processors use rapid test kits for allergen control

Food Safety Magazine, as part of its Food Safety Insights program, has for many years been talking to food processors about their food safety and sanitation efforts. Recently, the magazine surveyed approximately 275 processors about “their most pressing problems and how they are dealing with those key issues.”

Specifically, they wanted to talk about one thing: allergen control (how they prevent unintended allergen cross-contamination) and, related, sanitation verification (how they make sure their cleaning efforts have been successful).

When asked to describe the strengths of their allergen control programs, about a third of processors mentioned the way they use validated cleaning processes, and how they continue to monitor and verify cleanliness through regular testing.

Validated cleaning processes are those have been documented as the best sanitation methods available for the given production environment. It goes hand-in-hand with sanitation verification, which is the process of making sure these cleaning methods are being implemented effectively. This can be done with several methods, including adenosine triphosphate (ATP) testing, protein testing and allergen testing. Each of these methods involves scientifically detecting trace residues from previously processed food and liquids. If residues are found, cleaning wasn’t sufficient.

According to the survey, ATP, protein and allergen rapid test kits were used by 76% of survey respondents, with allergen test kits being the most common. Multiple types of test kits were used by 30%. Numbers were fairly split between processors who only use rapid tests (44%) and who use outside labs in addition (45%), but only 19% reported only relying on an outside lab for testing.

Similar numbers were found between North American companies, which were the focus of the survey, and from international companies from 37 countries that were also surveyed. Of these companies, 69% use rapid tests, particularly allergen tests.  Using an outside lab is more common outside of North America, with 59% using them, and 31% using them exclusively; 41% only use rapid test kits.

For more facts and figures of this study, check out Food Safety Magazine’s report on the topic.

Neogen offers products for all three sanitation verification methods discussed above: ATP testing, protein testing and allergen testing.

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