Finding a Route to Successful Free From Production

The ‘free-from’ market is growing, and manufacturers are under increasing pressure from retailers to meet the demand. This commercial pressure brings challenges because, even where there are regulatory limits, as in the case of the 20mg/kg limit that applies to ‘gluten-free’, these can be difficult to achieve. The challenge is even greater in the absence of regulatory limits for many allergenic ingredients, where ‘free-from’ must be understood to mean exactly that; that the products contain no trace of the allergen for which the ‘free-from’ claim is being made. In a non-dedicated production facility, it is hard, though not impossible, to achieve this absolute position.

What is needed is a comprehensive review of all stages of the production process, with a focus on getting it right first time, and building in appropriate, validated controls to make sure this claim can be upheld each time. As some high profile cases have demonstrated, the consequences of getting it wrong can be extremely damaging, both to the consumer and the brand. The good news is that there are tools available that will help food manufacturers to achieve a ‘free-from’ product for which the claim can be trusted.

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