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Issue Number: Council I 016


Amend Food Code Annex - Adding FSIS Allergen Compliance Guidelines

Issue you would like the Conference to consider

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) recommends adding a link to the FSIS compliance guidelines in the FDA Food Code Annex 4, Management of Food Safety Practices. In 2014, FSIS will publish compliance guidelines entitled, "Allergens and Ingredients of Public Health Concern: Identification, Prevention and Control, and Declaration through Labeling" which is targeted at meat and poultry products. The guidelines provide information on proper procedures for processing, handling, storing, and labeling a product with an allergen or ingredient of public health concern, broken down by three principles. Providing a link to this information will give retailers best practices guidelines for preventing and controlling allergens in meat and poultry products.

Public Health Significance

From 2008 through 2013, there has been a sustained increase in the number of recalls of FSIS-regulated product that contained undeclared allergens. The proportion of recalls attributed to undeclared allergens and ingredients of public health concern has also increased, from 13% in 2008 to 35% in 2012. Furthermore, 14% of undeclared allergen recalls from 2000 through 2012 were the result of investigations following consumer complaints, 9 of which were associated with reports of allergic reactions.

In a 2001 study, of individuals with self-reported food allergies who recalled their last allergic reaction to food, approximately 50% reported it occurred after eating prepared food, most often prepared in a restaurant1. Multiple studies have shown gaps in knowledge among food service workers regarding food allergens2,3. In a 2010 publication, Taylor and Baumert presented the food industry and restaurant practices leading to food allergen cross contact and noted that cross contact in a restaurant-type environment is more likely to lead to higher-dose exposures compared to typical food manufacturing4.


1Vierk KA, Koehler KM, Fein SB, Street DA. Prevalence of self-reported food allergy in American adults and use of food labels. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2007;119(6):1504-10.

2Ahuja R, Sicherer SH. Food-allergy management from the perspective of restaurant and food establishment personnel. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 2007;98(4):344-8.

3Bailey S, Albardiaz R, Frew AJ, Smith H. Restaurant staff's knowledge of anaphylaxis and dietary care of people with allergies. Clin Exp Allergy 2011;41(5):713-7.

4Taylor SL, Baumert JL. Cross-contamination of foods and implications for food allergic patients. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep 2010;10:265-70.

Recommended Solution: The Conference recommends...

that a letter be sent to the FDA recommending the 2013 Food Code, Annex 4, Management of Food Safety Practices, be amended to include a link to the UDSA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) compliance guidelines titled: "Allergens and Ingredients of Public Health Concern: Identification, Prevention and Control, and Declaration through Labeling."

Submitter Information

Name Scott Seys
Organization FSIS
Address Butler Square West, Suite 420-C, 100 North 6th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Telephone (612) 659-7053
Fax (612) 370-2070
Word File
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