Addressing Allergen Concerns: The Role of Cross-Contamination in Food Manufacturing

cross contamination

When consumers buy frozen meals, they trust that the food manufacturer has made the food safely. Food safety includes the prevention of cross-contamination, and it is the manufacturer’s responsibility to employ practices to ensure quality for the consumer

Cross-contamination is a major concern for consumers with food allergies and sensitivities. Contamination with allergens can cause severe allergic reactions and even death. US law requires that manufacturers list allergens on food labels and note if the product was made in a facility where common allergens are used. This helps consumers select if a product is safe for them. Still, food manufacturers need to prevent cross-contamination between products to maintain proper food safety.

If your food manufacturing plant uses common allergens like peanut-based ingredients or dairy products, it’s important to employ techniques to prevent cross-contamination between products that incorporate them and those that don’t. Here, we’ll explore which automated machine systems can help brands maintain food safety, focusing on Quantum food manufacturing equipment. But first, we’ll discuss cross-contamination and food contamination more in-depth and why avoiding them should be a food manufacturer’s top priority.


Cross-Contamination and Food Contamination

Cross-contamination and food contamination are serious food safety issues that food manufacturers have to manage. But what are examples of each? Here is how each type of contamination can affect food safety and why food manufacturers must prevent them.



As we’ve briefly explained, cross-contamination occurs when unwanted ingredients find their way into food products they aren’t supposed to be in. An example could be if automated food equipment isn’t properly cleaned before applying different ingredients. In this example, an IQF ingredient applicator could have been previously used to apply shredded meats to a pizza before being used to apply IQF vegetables to a veggie pizza. Without proper cleaning, food manufacturers run the risk of shredded meat mixing with IQF vegetables, creating a food hazard to vegetarian and vegan customers. These customers rely on the food manufacturers to properly clean equipment between ingredient usages and/or to use different ingredient applicators for meats and vegetables. Another example can be accidentally mixing dairy and dairy-free ingredients, creating an allergen hazard. In either case, it’s important to avoid this contamination to ensure that your products are safe for consumers.


Food Contamination

Food contamination can refer to microbe contamination, as well as any non-food item, like dirt, dust, or hair. Of course, food contamination lowers the quality and safety of a food product. Microbes can easily spread through the use of dirty equipment. Microbe contamination could cause serious food-borne illnesses. Non-food item contamination could lower the appeal of your products and destroy customer trust. Food contamination can pose a health hazard to consumers just as cross-contamination does, and manufacturers can employ the same cleaning procedures mentioned above to prevent food contamination. It’s a food manufacturer’s responsibility to maintain the high quality and safety of their frozen meal products for their consumers. 

Understanding these types of contaminations is vital to effectively preventing them. Luckily, Quantum automated machine systems are simple solutions for this challenging issue. Let’s explore why next.


Quantum Automated Machine Systems and Food Safety

Food safety is a consistent responsibility that food manufacturers have to manage. Developing a food safety plan and using the latest equipment can prevent contamination. While it may seem time-consuming and overwhelming, Quantum automated machine systems simplify food safety with their range of features and our equipment is user-friendly so teams can actively promote food safety. At Quantum, we’ve designed our food equipment with food safety in mind so that our clients can easily create safe products for their customers. Quantum automated machine systems offer washdown compatibility, easy maintenance, and ease of use.


Washdown Compatibility

The majority of our Quantum automated machine systems are washdown compatible, a key feature in combating cross-contamination and food contamination. Our stainless-steel design allows staff to hose equipment down as needed to efficiently remove contaminants. 


Easy Maintenance

Our automated food manufacturing equipment is also easy to maintain. Most of our equipment doesn’t require tools and can be serviced in-house by the team. Our simple design inspires staff to take care of the equipment, promoting adherence to maintenance schedules and dedication to food safety.


Ease of Use

Ease of use is a key characteristic of automated food equipment. Not only does it streamline workflows, but it encourages teams to be proactive when maintaining the machinery, working with it, and restocking it. Ease of use is important in food safety because user-friendly machines help reduce user error. Here, user errors can include improper maintenance and cleaning and leftover ingredients as a result. Our automated food equipment is designed to simplify food production, without sacrificing productivity.

Washdown compatibility, easy maintenance, and ease of use are all characteristics of Quantum food manufacturing equipment that sets food manufacturing standards. Next, we’ll highlight some Quantum equipment that has revolutionized food manufacturing for our clients.


Quantum Food Manufacturing Equipment

Our team knows how necessary it is to avoid cross-contamination in food manufacturing. To keep food products safe for consumers, frozen food labels need to employ the latest in food manufacturing equipment that can simplify food safety. We’ve proudly designed Quantum food manufacturing equipment to streamline the food manufacturing process, including food safety. At Quantum, our range of food manufacturing equipment includes:

  • Sauce Applicators- Can dispense pizza sauce, salad dressings, gravy, BBQ sauce, and similar sauces
  • Meat/Pepperoni Slicers- Can cut and apply stick meats like pepperoni, sausage, and Canadian bacon. Our slicers can also be configured to slice and apply meats and cheeses deli-style.
  • Cheese/IQF Ingredient Applicators- Can apply shredded cheeses and IQF ingredients like vegetables or frozen shredded meats. These applicators offer versatility and can apply ingredients as long as the machines can stock them.
  • Dry/Granular Ingredient Applicators- Can apply dry and granular ingredients like salt, parmesan, herbs, spices, and sprinkles. The range of ingredient application possibilities allows brands to create unique products.

Each of our equipment types is built with the demands of food safety in mind. Quantum equipment can provide an increase in productivity along with better food safety practices.


Prevent Cross-Contamination With Quantum

At Quantum Technical Services, we understand the importance of preventing cross-contamination between food products. That’s why we’ve designed easy-to-clean, stainless-steel automated food equipment to keep food safety simple. Quantum food manufacturing equipment improves not only productivity but food manufacturing processes as well. Contact our team at Quantum Technical Services today to find which equipment can help prevent cross-contamination and food contamination in your manufacturing plant.