Cross contact causes

Allergen cross-contact happens for several reasons. 

Residue may be left behind if equipment is not cleaned adequately after a food with an allergen is processed; the next food made on the same equipment may become contaminated with an allergen.

Food containing an allergen may come into contact with non-allergen food that is made in the same facility at the same time. For example, if a facility processes peanuts and almonds, some peanut product might come into contact with the almond product if personnel fail to follow best practices or equipment is not adequately separated.

Misusing ingredients, such as accidently add the wrong ingredient, can also inject an allergen into a food.

Sometimes, product that is not fully processed must be set aside and stored to be added back to the process at a later time. This can happen if the line has to be shut down before the batch or lot is completed. These intermediate products should be labeled carefully since adding back material containing food allergens into a formula that does not have the same ingredients can introduce allergens. Workers should be careful to avoid combining products made at different times, not realizing that one is allergen-free and the other is not.

Allergen preventive controls must be documented to prevent allergen cross-contact.

It is important to know what allergens are present in the facility. Forms can help document and plan to prevent cross-contact.