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Question :
Hi all – I am a startup business manufacturing healthy dry baking mixes. I’m wanting to get my products allergen tested for gluten, dairy and nuts (the ingredients are gluten free, dairy free, and nut free, and the suppliers and myself have strict food control processes in place, however my suppliers note that allergen free claims should not be made unless tests are done). What is the easiest and best way to get these tests done? I’m aware of several labs in NZ that can do it however the costs seem to be quite high. I’m wondering if there are any alternatives – e.g. buying a test kit where I can test the products myself on a regular basis.Any and all advice appreciated!!Thank you :)Shayna 

Question submitted 17/05/20 @ 04:07pm
Industry: Food & Beverage
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  • Kia ora Shayna, Vicky Taylor would be helpful with this question… I will forward the link to her… also the food bowl are always pretty helpful in this space too. https://foodinnovationnetwork.co.nz/locations/foodbowl

    CC

    Hello Shayna. I checked with Michelle Sinclair, who is our Technical Director at Lewis Road and she kindly replied as follows ‘Hi Peter, A test kit like this would be perfect for them. There are other similar ones around too.

    https://www.nzms.co.nz/178/agrastrip%C2%AE-allergen-test-kit/

    I’m happy to chat to them on phone if they want some extra info.

    Cheers, Michelle

    Hope that helps.

    Thanks Craig and Peter – you beat me to it! Yes there are test kits available to do yourself.
    Best practise would create a process where you do in house regular testing (after clean down and before starting manufacturing, x number of times per production process for example), plus external testing a couple of times per year for extra benchmarks. You need to consider how to balance the cost and time in testing, with the risk of having products that do not meet food labeling criteria or make people sick. Worst case is some one tests your products and discovers an issue and you need to do a recall…not where you want to be. Equally challenging is a coeliac consumers your product, feels ill and considers your brand responsible…sometimes you need to be able to demonstrate directly to activist consumers that your product is regularly tested and meets criteria.

    It would be worth talking to Michelle as suggested by Peter above – she is amazing. And even connecting with a non-competitive company who makes gluten free claims and asking if they will share thoughts/insights on their processes. Overall this should be part of your Food Control Plan https://www.mpi.govt.nz/food-safety/food-act-2014/food-control-plans/ , HACCP and GMP plans.

    Another resource to consider is the Foodie Volunteer Army on Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/groups/13842756/

    Thanks Craig and Peter – you beat me to it! Yes there are test kits available to do yourself.
    Best practise would create a process where you do in house regular testing (after clean down and before starting manufacturing, x number of times per production process for example), plus external testing a couple of times per year for extra benchmarks. You need to consider how to balance the cost and time in testing, with the risk of having products that do not meet food labeling criteria or make people sick. Worst case is some one tests your products and discovers an issue and you need to do a recall…not where you want to be. Equally challenging is a coeliac consumers your product, feels ill and considers your brand responsible…sometimes you need to be able to demonstrate directly to activist consumers that your product is regularly tested and meets criteria.

    It would be worth talking to Michelle as suggested by Peter above – she is amazing. And even connecting with a non-competitive company who makes gluten free claims and asking if they will share thoughts/insights on their processes. Overall this should be part of your Food Control Plan https://www.mpi.govt.nz/food-safety/food-act-2014/food-control-plans/ , HACCP and GMP plans.

    Another resource to consider is the Foodie Volunteer Army on Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/groups/13842756/

    Hi everyone – thank you so much for your replies! I only just saw them now as I wasn’t getting notifications.

    I appreciate all the information! I will check it all out.

    Cheers!!
    Shayna

    Hi Peter,

    Thank you very much for your reply. Would I be able to be put in touch with Michelle? That would be very helpful.

    Thank you
    Shayna

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