Enzymatic cleaning of food allergens
What is a food allergy?
Food allergy is an excessive and abnormal response of the immune system following contact with a foreign substance in genetically predisposed individuals. It is ranked as the fourth most common chronic disease worldwide by the World Health Organization (WHO).
By 2050, 50% of the world’s population will be affected by at least one allergic disease (Chabane et al., 2021). Controlling allergen-related health risks is therefore a major international challenge.
The legal framework
European regulations concerning allergens impose a strict legal framework on players in the food industry in order to protect consumers. These regulations do not specifically address the cleaning procedures to be followed, but it is essential that those involved in the food chain adopt rigorous practices to avoid any risk of contamination.
What are the control methods?
Controlling the risks associated with allergens in industry makes it possible to protect the health and confidence of consumers, as well as the financial health and reputation of the company. Implementing procedures for cleaning food allergens is a crucial part of risk management. The application of enzymatic solutions is a robust and specific cleaning method that takes into account the diversity and complexity of food matrices. It forms part of the set of measures designed to ensure process control in order to guarantee the safety of food products.
What are the advantages of enzymatic cleaning?
Enzymatic cleaning solutions developed by Realco are more effective than conventional detergents based on acids or soda because they have a dual action on organic soiling.
Their detergent base loosens organic soils and exposes allergens to the enzyme cocktail. Enzymes hydrolyse and eliminate the properties of the allergenic molecules, unlike acid and alkaline detergents which do not hydrolyse allergens.
What’s more, these solutions remain effective at room temperature (25ºC), enabling allergens to be treated in industry without necessarily raising the temperature of the solution (45ºC). Enzymatic cleaning takes into account the complexity of food matrices and is an integral part of all measures to control the risk of allergen contamination.