Product recalls - what this means for allergens

Product recalls are every business nightmare. No business wants to have the expense of products being shipped and put on shelves, only to have to recall them due to missed manufacturing mistakes.

Product recalls aren’t only the bane of existence for businesses, but for those who suffer with allergies. Those who have severe allergies rely on food and ingredient labels to be accurate. If labels aren’t accurate then it could be detrimental to those who suffer with allergies should they use or ingest those products.

A recent study has shown that in the last five years more than half of food product recalls have been due to allergens. This shocking statistic causes major concerns for those who suffer with any food intolerance.

Why do product recalls happen?

Product recalls happen for a number of reasons. Granted we are only human and part of being human is making mistakes. However, when that mistake happens it needs to be rectified before products are sent out of the manufacturing centre. Quality control is essential in these cases.

Another reason why product recalls can happen is because evidence of cross contamination isn’t found until a customer has a reaction to the product. This is the worst scenario for many businesses. 

In a recent study it has been found that a quarter of product recalls happened due to products containing milk. Just under 17 percent of product recalls contained cereals, and over 10 percent contained nuts.

These figures are shocking, but also not surprising. With the sheer number of food items being produced it’s not surprising that many of the reasons are due to allergens. 

Recent product recalls

Here is a list of recent product recalls related to allergens:

Tesco recall - Arrabbiata sauce due to undeclared milk

Yaadgaar Operations recall - Yaadgaar Assorted Baklava due to undeclared milk

Boots recall - Boots kids daily health multivitamins strawberry gummies due to undeclared soya

My Sweet Chickpea recall - various dark chocolate products due to undeclared milk

Taiko Food recall - Taiko Chicken Katsu bites with Teri Mayo due to undeclared crustaceans

Undeclared allergens cause stress and anxiety for those who suffer from an allergy. It is essential that all businesses include all ingredients and allergens on their product ingredient lists. 

For updates on product recalls visit the Food Standards Agency for more information.

What can businesses do to protect their customers from product recalls?

There are several key things that businesses can do to protect their customers and reduce product recalls. 

Stricter quality controls. This would mean businesses would need to quality control each batch of products in a stricter sense. Not only checking shape and textures, but also testing for allergens beyond the final product. While this process may cost money and time, it will also pay for itself by reducing expensive product recalls and loss of brand loyalty. 

Another way to protect customers from product recalls due to allergens is to ensure proper training and information is available to employees. Having employees understand ingredients, allergens, and how they should be handled is essential in all parts of food manufacturing. 

Databases and software such as Allergen Checker allows businesses to easily create menus, food ingredient lists and more. This makes it easier for employees to accurately understand allergens in specific ingredients and items. For a 7 day free trial of Allergen Checker software click here. 

DISCLAIMER All information was correct at the time of writing, this blog was created to share awareness of product recalls.