The global snack food industry is estimated to be worth approximately $374 billion, with Europe and North America making up the majority of snack sales with a combined worth of $291 billion. As the demand for healthier and “free-from” snacks rise, snack food makers face more complex recipes containing an array of ingredients that could pose a risk to food safety.
Different snack manufacturers may have different food safety requirements. For example, snacks with a high spice mix may be more difficult to test for allergens due to the matrix effect. In addition spices can introduce pathogenic microorganisms such as Salmonella and Listeria. In the past, snack manufacturers have been targeted due to the high number of product recalls involving food allergens such as peanut and egg. Recent consumer trends have called for a larger variety of snack products to choose from, which means more allergens and more challenges for manufacturers for allergen control and validation.
Neogen® works alongside globally recognized snack food manufacturers to ensure that our range of analysis and testing for snack food processing meets these growing demands and challenges for food safety. Neogen’s range of allergen testing solutions includes screening and quantitative food allergen test kits to detect the target allergen in ingredients, clean-in-place rinses, finished foods and on environmental surfaces.
Seasoning and spice blends used within the snack food industry can be susceptible to adulteration for the purposes of economic gain, or be unintentionally contaminated through accidental cross-contact during harvest, processing, shipping or storage. To ensure the quality and integrity of snack food products, producers should have controls in place based on good manufacturing practices (GMPs) and food safety management systems.
Allergens have become the most prevalent reason for food recalls in the United States during the past five years and snack foods were in the top five food groups for allergen recalls during that time. Often a mislabeling issue, allergen contamination can also occur from cross-contamination of foods due to insufficient cleaning of production surfaces or failure to properly segregate allergenic ingredients.Snack foods are particularly susceptible to allergen issues due to the type and number of ingredients involved. These products often include milk, wheat and soy, along with peanuts and tree nuts such as almonds, cashews, pistachios, pecans, walnuts, and hazelnuts.
In addition to the diagnostic test kits offered by Neogen, the company offers laboratory testing services of food allergens.
Neogen’s ATP verification system, AccuPoint® Advanced is the ideal tool to monitor a snack food manufacturer's SSOP ATP testing can verify that effective cleaning has taken place during the manufacturing process. Approved by the AOAC Research Institute, use of AccuPoint Advanced provides customers assurance that the system produces consistent and reliable data for evaluating sanitation program effectiveness in food processing and food services facilities. In addition, Neogen’s technical representatives work alongside major snack food companies and have the experience to provide full training and ongoing support for hygiene monitoring.
Neogen’s Acumedia® brand offers a broad range of enrichment media for general microbial to pathogen-specific organisms. More than 240 catalog formulations are available along with over 200 custom formulations to meet specific customer requirements. ISO 9001 certification, quality ingredients, consistent products, competitive pricing and on-time delivery make Acumedia enrichment media the right choice.
Within the food manufacturing industry the production of snack foods is considered to be safer than wet foods. Most savory snack foods will undergo a ‘kill-step’ which includes baking, roasting, extruding or frying during production so the rapid growth of microorganisms often found in wet foods is less likely to occur. However, research has shown that some microorganisms do pose potential threats such as Salmonella, due to its ability to resist very high temperatures.
Neogen’s rapid test kits for mycotoxin detection are available in both screening and quantitative formats with screening tests providing results within as little as two minutes.
Neogen’s mycotoxin test kits have been validated on a variety of commodities from the most susceptible, including maize or wheat based snacks, or more difficult matrices, such as hazelnuts, walnuts or dried fruit.
Because of its ease of use and clarity of result, many companies prefer to utilize our self-contained protein detection tests for their sanitation monitoring programs. AccuClean® Advanced is intended to be used as a simple method to determine the cleanliness of food contact surfaces and equipment. AccuClean Advanced is housed in a fully self-contained cartridge that once activated, changes color to indicate the relative level of protein detected on a sampled surface.
After 10 seconds, the solution is compared to a color comparison chart for interpretation. If no protein is detected, the solution in the bottom of the cup will remain copper-colored to indicate the surface is clean. A color change to gray indicates low level protein has been detected, while a change to green/blue or blue indicates a higher level of protein detected.
Authenticity of meat products is very important for religious and health reasons across the world. It is essential that processed meat snacks, such as beef jerky and dried meats, are correctly labeled.