Ben Adams, Jr.

Allergen considerations from a global perspective in the food supply chain

MOST U.S. COMPANIES begin as domestic-only enterprises and evolve, because of the global economy, to have an international mix of customers. Adams Cold Storage was international from the very start. Our first inbound product, when we launched the business in December 2010, was frozen lemon concentrate from South Africa.

ACS not only receives food products from countries outside the United States, products stored here often have international destinations. In some cases, frozen or refrigerated storage at ACS is a transit point between two international ports of call. For example, ACS warehouses frozen bread products that originate in Europe and have a final destination outside the United States, perhaps in Canada or one of the Caribbean island nations.

As a company in the middle of the global food supply chain, ACS must abide by not only U.S. food and health regulations, but also by requirements on the books in many other nations. That is particularly the case when it comes to allergens and how products listed as containing allergens are stored.

Regulators in most nations require that foods containing allergens be properly labeled and kept separated from other products. What makes this interesting — and important to manage in public refrigerated warehousing — is the fact that allergens are not treated the same around the world. For example, Korea considers peaches, pork, and tomatoes to be allergens, while U.S. food-health regulators do not. In Canada and Europe, mulluscan shellfish, mustard, and sesame are treated as allergens, but that’s not the case in the United States and Korea. In practical terms, that means we have to be ever-vigilant when sesame seed-topped buns produced in the U.S. or imported from Europe are headed for the Canadian supply chain.

How does ACS keep all of this straight? We rely on information from FDA and the regulators in the home nations for the companies we serve. Specifically, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Food Allergy Research and Resource Program is a tremendous resource on all things related to food allergens and allergen regulations all around the world.

This column is sponsored by Adams Cold Storage.


column by BEN ADAMS, JR.

BIO: Ben Adams, Jr., is an owner and president of Adams Cold Storage, LLC, in Auburndale. He has been directly involved in citrus production, warehousing and distribution, as well as state and community support, since 1980. His facility incorporates about 200,000 square feet of multitemperature warehousing, with an extensive expansion project having broken ground and currently under way.

Posted March 30, 2016

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