Have you ever wondered why our packaging says “May contain traces of …”? In the following blog entry we explain to you where this expression comes from and what it really means.
Many of us suffer from allergies or know people in our circle of acquaintances who suffer from them. In order to enable us to live a symptom-free life, we critically review the ingredient lists of various foods and avoid all products that contain our allergy trigger. But what about the note “Can contain traces of …?”.
According to the law, this is a voluntary warning that indicates that the product may have accidentally come into contact with an allergen during the production process or at the supplier. This contamination is possible due to the processing on common production facilities. This case is also known as cross-contamination. In short, this means that the product with a trace label can contain allergen traces but does not have to.
Since we also process spices that contain allergens on our machines, we voluntarily label all our products with the allergy note: “May contain traces of cereals containing gluten, mustard and celery.”
What does the theory look like in practice? In order to get a closer look at the process, we asked our Bernd Grajewski from Quality Management for you.
Q: What measures are taken in quality management to avoid cross-contamination as much as possible?
In order to keep the risk of undesirable contamination low, we plan the production so that allergenic goods are filled at the end of a week of production and then thoroughly cleaned. At our suppliers, we make sure that the products are as free as possible. However, it should be borne in mind that traces are only very small quantities, e.g. can already be caused by dust when emptying the bags and can thus lead to cross-contamination.
Q: What does this mean for allergy sufferers?
Since everyone has an individual tolerance limit for allergens, it cannot be ruled out that these products can lead to allergic reactions. But unlike other foods, the amount consumed with spices is very small.
Despite numerous discussions, there is no fixed threshold for lane marking in the EU.