Trained staff who are aware of food allergen risks can support a business in successfully controlling and managing food allergens. Staff from all parts of the business (including contractors and temporary staff) should understand their role in allergen management. Encourage staff to look for allergen risks and have processes in place so that the risks are addressed.

Staff should be trained, and where appropriate assessed, in their understanding food allergens, the risk to consumers with food allergy, the identification of cross contact allergens and the management of food allergens.

Training in food allergens should be provided to staff from many parts of the business, including management where appropriate, and from all production shifts. It can include and is not limited to raw materials procurement and handling, cleaning, equipment, maintenance, production, labelling and product development. Training records (including certificates of registration and qualifications) should be kept and maintained for all staff.

Jack worked for a company that made gourmet sausages. He was responsible for conducting allergen risk reviews to understand the allergen status of the five sausage varieties produced. With support from his management, Jack had arranged for some of the staff to attend allergen training.

Part of the training included a general introduction to food allergens using a freely available training presentation from the internet, other training was more comprehensive and designed for the staff that worked in production, quality, and product development.

Although the business had strong good manufacturing practice principles, some positive changes were made after the training. Notices were put up explaining the importance of washing hands after working with raw materials containing allergens, processes were improved to reduce the procurement of raw materials containing cross contact allergens, and the cleaning staff identified possible inconsistencies between shift changes and implemented improvements.

These changes to business practice reduced the risk of allergens unintentionally being incorporated into the sausages and helped Jack be more confident in understanding the allergen status of the sausages.