The receipt of raw materials and ingredients should follow procedures that ensure the overall allergen status of the material is delivered and received as expected.

Inspecting raw materials upon delivery is necessary to identify any damage to packaging or potential cross contact that may have occurred during transportation. Trucks and other transportation vehicles should be inspected at the point of receipt and the goods inspected once removed from the truck. Where there is evidence of damage or cross contact the materials should be rejected. Consider taking photographs of any damage as evidence.

Incoming materials should be protected (for example fully wrapped in plastic), and if there are mixed pallets, each raw material should be separated by a physical barrier (pallet pad, shrink wrap) to prevent cross contact occurring during transportation.

Ensure that the packaging is fit for purpose, and that packaging is sealed effectively. This Case Study shows how a filling fault created airborne cross contact during and after transportation.  Case Study – raw material rejection

Materials with an unknown allergen status should not be permitted on site. A master list of all raw materials which includes their allergen profile is useful for checking against incoming ingredients. The list can either be computer generated or a hard copy, however a system is required to ensure it is kept up to date.

Once a raw material is accepted on site it should be labelled or tagged for allergen identification. Consider using different coloured labels for each allergen.

Delivery protocols should include procedures for managing broken packaging and a process for managing rejected materials. Records of frequency of damaged packaging upon delivery should be maintained and any issues should be treated as a non-conformance on the supplier which can then be tracked.

Confirm that your raw material suppliers have documented food safety programs in place that ensure food transport vehicles and food transport businesses used for the transport of food or ingredients are inspected and audited to prevent cross contact and protect product integrity.
Suppliers should have procedures in place that will ensure the proper protection of ingredients, packaging materials, and finished product while in transit.
Special care should be taken where transport is via shared containers or mixed loads. Containers must be inspected and cleaned between loads to ensure no allergen carry over. Effective traceability should be maintained through documentation of previous products transported.

Contract and/or third-party manufacturers (for example co-packers) should be treated the same way as your business manages any other suppliers.