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Spice it up: Dutch Spices receives SimplyOK allergen management certification

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2018-12-14  Views: 31
Core Tip: Dutch Spices has received the highest level of certification in the SimplyOK allergen management scheme for its products.
Dutch Spices has received the highest level of certification in the SimplyOK allergen management scheme for its products. The distinction reinforces the company’s position on allergen safety in an environment where concerns regarding allergens in raw materials and recipes are prominent. Dutch Spices’ products also comply with the Allergen Bureau's VITAL (Voluntary Incidental Trace Allergen Labeling) program, which is a standardized allergen risk assessment process for the food industry.

Dutch Spices Commercial Manager, Thédor van der Vleuten, says: “What we do differently is that we have eliminated 24 allergens. For the majority of our consumers – for example, purchasers, QA managers and R&D managers – the biggest concern is getting the right raw materials.”

SimplyOK is a foundation that aims to communicate clear, reliable and full information about allergens on labels. Allergen management systems are audited by auditors from certification service providers Vinçotte ISACert and Lloyd’s Register, with extra focus on the five basic mainstays of allergen management, including preventing cross-contamination.

“We received the SimplyOK certification because we are the first ones in Europe to achieve this high standard of allergen management,” Van der Vleuten adds.

With food allergies affecting a large percentage of the population, the need for raw materials free of allergens is high. According to the Food Allergy Research and Education Organization (FARE), 15 million Americans are estimated to have food allergies, including almost 6 million children under the age of 18. Moreover, about 30 percent of children with food allergies are allergic to more than one food.

Dutch Spices says that it is working towards providing safe and tasty food for everyone and eliminating the problem of incomplete product specifications and unclear information regarding allergens in recipes and raw materials.

“We try to listen to our customers and what they really need. For instance, if it is necessary to make a peanut-free sauce we will make it. Soy sauce without soy? We will do that. We aim to deliver top quality products that meet consumer demands,” says Van der Vleuten.

Van der Vleuten believes that many companies are struggling with quality issues and the attainment of the SimplyOK certification will reinforce trust between Dutch Spices and its customers.

“Seven years ago we set out to raise the bar in allergen management and food safety. You can expect us to keep doing this, as next year we intend to tackle food fraud,” concludes Van der Vleuten.

In the wake of two allergy-related deaths of Pret a Manger customers and an increasing number of global consumers reportedly suffering from food allergies, the industry is reviewing labeling allergens. Swiss retailer Coop, for example, is collaborating with developer of label design software NiceLabel to enhance the company’s labeling processes at its factories and in-store bakeries. The system helps food & beverage manufacturers to meet regulatory and regional label requirements and improves food safety.

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