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J Food Prot. 2008 Feb;71(2):445-58.

Cleaning and other control and validation strategies to prevent allergen cross-contact in food-processing operations.

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U.S. Food and Drug Administration, National Center for Food Safety and Technology, 6502 South Archer Road, Summit-Argo, Illinois 60501, USA.


Food allergies affect an estimated 10 to 12 million people in the United States. Some of these individuals can develop life-threatening allergic reactions when exposed to allergenic proteins. At present, the only successful method to manage food allergies is to avoid foods containing allergens. Consumers with food allergies rely on food labels to disclose the presence of allergenic ingredients. However, undeclared allergens can be inadvertently introduced into a food via cross-contact during manufacturing. Although allergen removal through cleaning of shared equipment or processing lines has been identified as one of the critical points for effective allergen control, there is little published information on the effectiveness of cleaning procedures for removing allergenic materials from processing equipment. There also is no consensus on how to validate or verify the efficacy of cleaning procedures. The objectives of this review were (i) to study the incidence and cause of allergen cross-contact, (ii) to assess the science upon which the cleaning of food contact surfaces is based, (iii) to identify best practices for cleaning allergenic foods from food contact surfaces in wet and dry manufacturing environments, and (iv) to present best practices for validating and verifying the efficacy of allergen cleaning protocols.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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