World Health Day: Food safety

Allergen testing requirements growing, says Neogen

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

Neogen told us companies are realising the benefits of a proactive testing approach
Neogen told us companies are realising the benefits of a proactive testing approach

Related tags Regulation Food

Neogen has said it is seeing a rise in allergen testing requirements worldwide.

The firm said changes in mycotoxin testing levels tend to be more dependent on outbreaks.

It also identified microbiology as a major growth area with pathogen and spoilage indicator testing.

Country-specific changes

Joanne McPeake, marketing manager at Neogen Europe, said the global presence of Neogen Corporation allows it to have strong insights which can be helpful in understanding how testing, regulations and market conditions differ across the globe.

“We see differences in product preference in different countries but overall we are generally seeing a rise in allergen testing requirements worldwide,” ​she told FoodQualityNews.

Neogen E.coli world health day

“Throughout Neogen we are always mindful of the differences that occur globally and this often results in changes to testing kits and protocols for different territories to address differing regulatory limits or testing methods.

“Changes such as incubation temperature or limits of detection are probably the most common with the globalisation of products.

“The main thing that is standard throughout all regions is that companies within the food and beverage industries want help in ensuring their safety testing needs are met.”

World Health Day today (7 April) is highlighting challenges and opportunities associated with food safety under the slogan of “From farm to plate, make food safe.”

McPeake said a preventative approach is now working well for many organisations.

“There are an increasing number of companies, regardless of size, moving away from reactive testing and instead realising the benefits of having a proactive approach to testing,” ​she said. 

“The real life costs of recalls or products being declined further along the supply chain are so high in terms of financial cost and, crucially, brand damage.”

Neogen Europe has sales divisions in the UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands and a distributor network in the rest of Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Move by food manufacturers ahead of regulation

McPeake said it is has seen regulation change, retailer and consumer demand affect change over the last five to 10 years.

“We have seen the regulations tighten on allergens most recently with the change to labelling regulation, but we found that within food manufacturers there was already a move in this direction before the legislation came into force with many working to tight HACCP plans already which incorporated allergen controls.

“Retailers have also played a key role in influencing change with additions to their codes of practice which can influence the frequency and volume of testing." 

Manufacturers and processers have also affected change themselves, said McPeake.

“One of the key areas we have seen this is within the shellfish industry where processors within Scotland have moved towards end product testing to ensure they have confidence in their own products. 

“This is without changes to legislation or pressure from consumers – this instead is driven by the processors and the need on their part to be sure that what they were harvesting or processing is safe for consumption. This reflects the move towards a proactive approach.”

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