IDFA Joins Food Industry Coalition to Create Food Allergen Icons
IDFA has worked with several manufacturing companies and other food industry organizations to create a series of international food allergen icons to provide easily recognizable symbols for voluntary use in manufacturing plants and warehouses. The 23 icons, which depict the most common food allergens, can be used by manufacturers to identify the presence of specific allergens in ingredients, on equipment or in certain areas of a facility or warehouse. These icons are not to be used on any consumer food packaging.
IDFA staff and members of its Allergen Task Force joined the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP), the American Meat Institute, the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program, Archer Daniels Midland Company, ConAgra Foods, Kellogg Company, Kraft Foods Company, Sara Lee Corporation and Safeway Inc. in their efforts to develop international icons that companies could use to further enhance food safety and allergen awareness at the plant and warehouse level. These icons are now available on IAFP's website at http://www.foodprotection.org/aboutIAFP/AllergenIcons.asp.
"We commend the work that IDFA and IAFP have done to standardize allergen identification and simplify communications about allergens to all employees handling those ingredients. The new icons will be instrumental to our manufacturing operations," said Darin Huggler, process quality assurance manager for Safeway Inc.'s Ice Cream Department "These icons bring us one step closer to addressing allergen-control programs throughout the food industry and are vital to the continued success of allergen awareness in the manufacturing facility."
The icons identify the eight major food allergens - egg, milk, soy, wheat, crustacea, fish, peanuts and tree nuts - as well as these individual types of tree nuts: almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, hazelnuts, hickory nuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts. In addition, there are icons for celery, lupine, mustard and sesame seeds, which some foreign countries have identified as allergens.
To help employees who are not able to read English, the icons include an illustration along with the name of the allergen. The appropriate icon or icons can be placed on boxes or pallets of an ingredient that contain specific allergens; they can also be used to mark tools that are intended for use with a particular allergen.
"Our members have been asking for these icons, and we're pleased that they are now available for use," said Michelle Matto, IDFA assistant director of regulatory affairs.
Matto noted that members will be asked to accept IAFP's guidelines for using the icons posted at http://www.foodprotection.org/aboutIAFP/AllergenIcons.asp before viewing the icons. For more information, contact Matto at 202-220-3523 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Posted June 18, 2007