Recently, a customer expressed concern about allergen control and cross-contamination in our grain-free vanilla extract. So we asked our extract partner to explain how we keep allergens out of our extract. Here is the reply:
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For the very reason that Shank’s has allergens in the facility, we have developed an allergen control plan. We label all allergen-containing raw materials and in-process materials with specific allergen labels in yellow. We identify all allergenic activities and require allergen cleaning in those processes. We have SOPs for the allergen processes, and require allergen training for all employees annually. Allergen containing materials are segregated from non-allergen materials. We are SQF certified annually and our allergen program is reviewed and approved. And finally, after allergen cleaning is completed, the equipment is swabbed tested for protein residues.
In short, we take allergen cross-contamination very seriously and to date, have not had any recall issues involving the same. Below is the statement Shank’s applies to every allergen declaration certificate and you may share this with your customer, if you feel it may alleviate any concerns.
Shank's Extracts, Inc., has an Allergen Plan in place which includes Standard Operating Procedures to ensure there is no cross-contamination of allergens. These SOPs contain actions addressing segregation of allergen materials and products from non-allergen items, specialized cleaning and sanitation for allergen use equipment, documentation of the allergen process upon batch records and production worksheets, and allergen alert labeling of raw and processed materials. Additionally, allergen awareness training is scheduled annually for all employees.
Let us know if we can be of further assistance. Customer safety is of utmost concern to us.
Deborah J. Wood
Shank’s Extracts, Inc.