Allergens are the largest single cause of global food product recalls. The Food Standards Agency latest Annual Incident Report states allergens (14%) were one of the largest contributors to the total number of UK recorded incidents in 2015.

RSSL’s food allergen consultants are internationally recognised for providing up to date support and advice to food producers, food distributors and retailers. Our consultants are members of Government and industry committees, providing knowledge and advice for future legislation and guidance documents.

We can support you with:

  • Independent expert allergen risk assessment and mitigation programs
  • Future-proofing corporate allergen control systems
  • Providing expert opinions in the event of allergen related incidents, recalls and withdrawals
  • A comprehensive range of manufacturing facility based practical allergen training, covering risk assessment, validations and surveillance programmes
  • Compliance requirements to BRC V7 and customer Codes of Practice

Our highly qualified consultants can visit your site or plant, ensuring the advice we provide to you is relevant and tailored to your needs and requirements.

For updates and discussions, please join our LinkedIn Group - Allergens in a Nutshell

Meet our food allergen consultants

Simon Flanagan

Simon - Allergens

Simon is Senior Consultant within RSSL's Food Safety and Quality team.

Simon is an internationally acclaimed Technical Consultant specialising in the field of food allergens. He is a biochemist by training and gained experience of working in a variety of sectors within the food industry before joining RSSL in 2002. In his current role Simon has worked with global blue chip manufacturers, retailers and ingredient suppliers, as well as manufacturers of specialist dietary products.

Simon has been involved in a broad scope of projects, from futureproofing corporate allergen policy through to independent expert site risk assessment and training programs.

Simon is affiliated with numerous professional bodies, industry groups and technical committees (ILSI Europe, FDF, BRC, EFSA, FSA) and has published several articles in peer reviewed journals.  He also edited the ‘Handbook of Food Allergen Detection and Control’. He was presented with a technical leadership award in 2014 for contributions to food safety and a SOFHT industry award for the development of RSSL’s practical allergen workshops. He was also awarded ‘Food and Drink Scientist of the Year’ at the FDF awards in 2018.

Simon was the first to develop a methodology for quantitative allergen risk assessment, which is becoming widely accepted as industry best practice. This methodology was adopted by Food and Drink Europe in their 2013 allergen management standard.  This approach to risk assessment is the foundation of RSSL's allergen consultancy service and training courses.

Connect with Simon Flanagan on LinkedIn

Barbara Hirst

Barbara Hirst

Barbara is a Food Safety and Quality Consultant at RSSL where she has worked since 1998. In this role, she partners with customers and advises them on all aspects of allergen management, from risk assessment through to validation of controls.

She provides support to customers from a wide range of food manufacturing and food service backgrounds.

She was the principal investigator for the FSA funded project “Survey of Allergen Advisory Labelling and Allergen Content of UK retail pre-packed processed foods” FS241038 (T07067) which was carried out between 2012 and 2014. This was part of her previous role as manager of RSSL’s DNA & Protein laboratory, where she was responsible for the analytical testing for allergens, meat and fish speciation and other molecular biology services. 

Barbara provided extensive support to the food industry during both the horse meat issue and the alleged contamination of spices with nuts. Using her scientific and technical knowledge, Barbara has advised regulators and industry on best practice approaches to sampling, testing and validation of control measures. SOFHT recognised Barbara for her services to industry during the horse meat crisis, and they awarded her the ‘Best Technologist of the Year’ in 2013.

Her extensive analytical and industry experience enable her to partner with customers to understand the challenges they are facing with allergen management.  She is expertly placed to advise on analytical testing, and to provide direct support through factory visits and training.

Connect with Barbara Hirst on LinkedIn

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