Sir: Alpro’s decision not to combine the manufacture of its nut and their soya milks on one line is very good news – not just for those mums of nut and dairy-allergic children who campaigned so hard to make them change their minds, but for the allergen-free food world in general (‘Alpro relents on soya/nut milk plant merger,’ 23 August, p38). Much was made during the Alpro campaign of how, with good manufacturing processes, it is possible to manufacture allergen-free foods on the same lines as foods containing those allergens and to avoid contamination. This has always been the stance of manufacturers that did not want to go to the expense of building dedicated, gluten/dairy/nut-free facilities.
Common sense dictates there is far less chance of an allergen ever getting into a food if it is never let into a factory in the first place, no matter how good cleaning practices may be. So, realistically, a dedicated gluten/dairy/nut etc-free factory has to be ‘safer’ than one in which those allergens are used.
And although the initial investment in dedicated facilities is greater, running costs have to be significantly lower in terms of cleaning, checking, cross-checking, monitoring and testing. And, of course, they can also say farewell to the dreaded ‘may contain’ labelling.
Michelle Berriedale-Johnson, director, FreeFrom Awards