It is important to consider several factors when starting to produce anything, and vegan food items are no exception. You may describe vegan customers are picky as they only like food items that meet a specific set of criteria. That means it is more important to be careful about making vegan consumer goods. Let us elaborate on this further with some facts about vegan food testing, manufacturing, packaging, and labeling.
The Possible Cross-Contamination
When it comes to food, the phrase ‘cross-contamination’ refers to fully plant-based products that are tainted with different animal derivatives. There are some factors that contribute to food cross-contamination. One of those is the process of preparing vegan meat and animal flesh products with the same grill.
That means if your facility handles products made from animal parts, you must consider how likely cross-contamination is. In that case, it is also important to implement controls to keep staff members from misusing ingredients as well as make cross-packing less likely to happen.
Will you use production lines that are not dedicated to vegan food and non-vegan products? If yes, you would have to validate the cleaning process to show that it effectively removes the possibility of cross-contamination.
What To Check For, And At What Time To Do This
It is potentially tricky for producers to recognize what to inspect for in vegan consumer goods, and when to do this. Organizations like RSSL may assist producers in their processes of assessing risks and of checking for nonvegetarian/non-vegan components. Anyhow, according to RSSL’s Christina Holt, it is impossible to check for all the things that cannot be used with vegan claims.
As for Holt, it is possible to check for egg and milk as well as different animal DNAs, but a few animal fats or e-numbers are difficult to check for. Therefore, it is important to consider many things; for one, you cannot test to confirm whether or not a product is vegan with a single test.
Barbara Hirst of RSSL says that it is challenging to recognize what to check for. Producers must not only ask their suppliers the right things but also comprehend the answers. After that, it is possible to have a knowledgeable discussion with a laboratory to understand which form of testing is perhaps appropriate.
Food producers pay much attention to the quality and safety of their goods, says Hirst. According to her, the challenges in creating vegan goods in facilities not devoted to it, means makers can be inclined to perform wrong/excessive testing.
The Possibility Of Allergy In Consumers
Veganism is in demand, so supermarkets are stocking more plant-based products. For that reason, food and beverage producers understandably wish to serve vegan customers with vegan versions of their goods. Anyhow, it is important to assess risks soundly and implement strong controls to make sure of the final product meeting the claims being made. Those are particularly important in facilities that handle allergen sources made from animals, like eggs and milk to name two.
It is potentially costly for a vegan enterprise to commit a mistake in any manufacturing stage. For instance, it can affect the business enterprise with regards to its product recall cost, plus the consequent damage that recall may have on its reputation. Anyhow, there is a greater risk of any consumer developing an allergy to your food, due to your lack of controls or a manufacturing error. In the United Kingdom, milk has been the allergen source that contributed to a greater number of those incidents over the recent years. Milk is used a lot in production, and it requires cautious management.
How To Describe The Products
It is easy to understand the reason why producers would like to describe the goods as ‘plant-based’ and ‘vegan-friendly’ from a pure marketing standpoint. Imagine that you sell an item made with vegan ingredients and that there is some dairy component in it. If a customer uses that vegan-labeled item as their lifestyle decision, then he or she would naturally be disappointed. Anyhow, if one uses it because they are allergic to that dairy ingredient in the product, then their response to it may not only be a disappointment. They may also choose to sue you over that.
This is where labeling becomes a tricky thing to do. Should you label your vegan goods in a precautionary manner, with terms like ‘may contain dairy’? You may voluntarily do so, but here is the tricky part: as per EU regulations, that voluntary claim must never be unclear or confusing for customers.
It is arguable that a claim about a vegan item with the phrase ‘may include milk’ can be confusing. In this case, customers would wonder how you label it as a vegan item while making that kind of a claim on its packaging. In other words, it would leave much room for customer interpretation and guesswork.