Allergens in manufactured foods at AIFST

In collaboration with the AIFST Convention Committee, the Allergen Bureau co-convened a session at the 48th AIFST Convention on ‘Allergens in manufactured foods: calculating and communicating the risks’.

Allergen Bureau Director Julie Newland, Unilever Australia Limited, in her talk Allergens in manufactured foods: risk, communication and advocacy provided a history of VITAL and background to the development of the VITAL Framework which is now being focused through Allergen Bureau led industry working groups. These Working Groups are:

  • Phase 1: Risk Review
  • Phase 2: Risk Communication (Labelling)
  • Phase 3: Certification
  • Risk Review Anomalies (working with Ai Group Confectionary Sector Technical Committee)

Julie emphasised the comprehensive industry consultation and input that informed the development of VITAL. In particular, the VITAL Scientific Expert Panel are an integral part of the structure – giving VITAL scientific credibility and rigour – as well as bringing global perspective so VITAL can remain an internationally relevant tool. Julie’s presentation showcased the considerable advocacy undertaken by the Allergen Bureau to promote global harmonisation of food allergen risk assessment.
View Julie’s presentation here.

Simon Brooke-Taylor, Brooke-Taylor & Co and VITAL Scientific Expert Panel member, made a presentation on the Voluntary Incidental Trace Allergen Labelling (VITAL®) Scientific Expert Panel: the science evolving. Simon spoke about how VITAL is all about numbers and described the work of the VSEP to get these numbers. The current VITAL Program is based on a quantitative risk assessment approach with the VSEP reviewing clinical challenge data and undertaking population dose distribution modelling. Future challenges were identified: as continuous improvement in modelling; global acceptance and implementation; and communication to consumers and clinicians.
View Simon’s presentation here.

Dean Clarke, National Measurement Institute (NMI), gave a presentation Allergen Analysis and the Allergen Testing Special Interest Group (AT-SIG). NMI have 20 years of experience in food allergen analysis.  Dean provided a comprehensive overview of the technologies for allergen analysis and challenges associated with each technique.  NMI and the Allergen Bureau are represented on AT-SIG with key aims of the group including to: improve food allergen analysis; share challenges and issues -address common or reoccurring issues; act as a forum to present emerging technology applicable to food allergen analysis.

The Allergen Bureau’s Lisa Warren presented on the new web-based update of the VITAL Calculator – VITAL Online: taking VITAL to the world. Lisa walked delegates through the process of using VITAL Online from registration to recipes to reporting. Lisa discussed the features of VITAL Online which are ‘bank level’ security protocols designed to protect company IP.
View Lisa’s presentation here.

This well attended session provided delegates with a comprehensive overview of the aspirations, achievements and challenges faced by the Allergen Bureau as it continues to work to inform the food industry and provide world leading allergen risk assessment tools and services.