Big 8 = No. 1 Cause of Food Recalls

What do you think is the number one cause of global food recalls? Answer: food allergens.  We are hearing more and more about the various food allergies that increasing numbers of people must live with. When I think back to when I was young the only allergy I ever remember is if someone was allergic to bees.  I honestly don’t remember ever knowing or hearing of anyone allergic to a particular food.  I would venture a guess that each and every one of you knows someone that has a food allergy of some sort.  My son for instance is allergic to mushrooms, who ever heard of that one? 

It is estimated that between 150 to 200 Americans die each year due to some sort of allergic reaction to food. What exactly causes a person to “develop” a food allergy? It is a specific type of adverse food reaction involving the immune system.  The body produces an allergic antibody to a food.  Once a specific food is eaten and binds with the antibody, an allergic reaction occurs. 

To reduce the risks, the FDA is working to ensure that the eight major allergenic ingredients in food are accurately labeled.  Since 2006, food labels must clearly state whether the food contains an ingredient that is considered a major food allergen.  These eight major food allergens are also known in the food industry as The “BIG 8”; milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts such as almonds, walnuts and pecans, soybeans, wheat, fish and shellfish such as crab, shrimp and lobster.

How are allergens and Nelson-Jameson related? As of April, we teamed with Neogen to sell the Rapid 3-D Allergen Test Kits.  We saw these kits at the International Association for Food Protection trade show last July in Texas. We were very excited about the prospect of selling these kits.

What makes these so different than other allergen kits?  ANYONE can run this test because it is so quick and easy.  In less than ten minutes after taking your sample you have a result.  Another benefit of the Rapid 3-D kits is that these test kits require no additional, expensive equipment. Most other allergen kits are generally run by laboratory technicians, due to the complexity or the precise nature of the procedure to get an accurate result, as well as, additional laboratory equipment that is needed to complete the tests.  These test kits can be brought out to the processing floor, for instance by the sanitation workers, and used to test the cleaned food contact equipment to ensure all food residue is gone. The eight kits we are selling are; almond, casein, egg, gluten, hazelnut, peanut, shellfish and soya.  If any of our customers would like additional information, please contact me and I would be happy to answer any questions.

A Picture of Cathy Laube

About Cathy Laube

Laboratory Product Manager - Supplies, Nelson-Jameson, Inc.
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