Allergen Free Yael Jacks April 22, 2020

Allergen Free

Food Allergies written on blackboard

Are food allergies on the rise?

As South Africans, we have noticed an increase in the awareness of allergens in foods. Fifteen years ago, in South Africa, it was difficult to find gluten-free foods on the shelf. Calls to factories were made to query each product. Yet today with allergen regulations stating that allergen warnings are required on packaging, it is easy to buy a product knowing what it may contain.

The eight major allergens include milk, fish, eggs, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soy. Most European countries have also started to include mustard and sesame to those eight. In addition, there are also other allergens including celery, lupin, molluscs and sulphur dioxide.

The increase of avoiding these type of foods, may not only be due to food intolerances but rather because consumers are trying to avoid these ingredients due to digestive, health and weight loss reasons. The banting diet does not allow wheat, soy or processed sugars. Cutting out dairy from your diet has been known to help with digestion issues. Veganism is currently on the rise, removing meat, chicken, eggs and fish from one’s diet.

Up to 30% of people believe that they, or a family member, have a food allergy. Moreover, 22% avoid particular foods because the food may contain an allergen, however, only between 1% and 6% test positive on full evaluation.

If you believe that you may have a food allergy, we have found points from the Allergy Foundation South Africa of how a diagnosis can be made:

  • Tell your doctor all the details of your problem. What you ate and what reaction occurred. Allergies are divided up into immediate reactions and delayed-type reactions.
  • For immediate reactions, ImmunoCap blood tests or skin prick tests can be done. These tests will show if there is a presence of IgE antibodies. However, these tests are only a guide and further tests may need to be done to give a definite answer.
  • For delayed-type reactions, blood tests and skin patch testing can be done.
  • For certain cases, the allergist may recommend a supervised food challenge to test for food allergy.

Here at Catercorp, we are committed to following a strict food safety system that acknowledges and controls allergen as a PRP (Pre-requisite Programme). In our factory, allergens are segregated from non-allergen ingredients. We perform extensive tests to make sure that there is no cross-contamination which can compromise our consumers. We develop sauces that can make claims that complies to labelling regulations R146, such as Gluten-Free and Sugar-Free

Our most recent research project involves sugar reduction in our sauces. Together with our partners, we are working at continually improving our sauces to align with consumer health benefits. We are externally audited by the FSA and GFSI to ensure that our standards comply with food safety.

Contact us if you would like to discuss your manufacturing needs.