Feb 2014 News Round Up

baby feeding guidelines

In our February 2014 News Round up, find our about two workshop events happening within the industry, news of new treatment trials for peanut allergy, a new book on Risk Management for Food Allergy and more of the latest research to ensure you are informed and up-to-date with industry events.

What are people doing now the Australian clinical allergy guidelines have changed?

The HealthNuts team of investigators led by Professor Katie Allen (member of the VITAL® Scientific Expert Panel) at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne have conducted a survey to establish the population response to change in infant feeding guidelines for allergy prevention.

In 2008, Australian allergy guidelines were revised to remove recommendations to delay introduction of certain solid foods to prevent the development of allergies in infants and children. As part of the cross-sectional study called ‘HealthNuts’, parents of 5,276 infants were recruited between 2007 and 2011 in Melbourne, Australia. Parents were asked to report on infant feeding practices.

Compared with participants recruited in 2007-2009, those recruited in 2009-2011 were more likely to follow the updated national allergy guidelines which recommend introducing solids at age 4 months. They were less likely to introduce solids at age 6 months, egg after 6 months, and peanut after 12 months, and this behaviour is also consistent with the updated guidelines. Although parents recruited in 2009-2011 were less likely to formula feed, formula-fed infants were more likely to be given a partially-hydrolyzed formula, again consistent with the revised guidelines. Higher socioeconomic status and absence of family history of allergies were associated with better uptake of feeding guidelines.

Reference: Tey et al. 2014 Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. pii: S0091-6749(13)01835-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2013.11.019.

Allergen Bureau-AIFST VITAL® webinar – 19 March 2014

VITAl AIFST webinar eventThe Allergen Bureau has teamed up with AIFST to present a CPD webinar about VITAL® in 2014

This webinar presentation by Julie Newlands – Allergen Bureau Board Member and Regulatory Manager for Unilever Australasia Limited is based on the work of the Allergen Bureau and its Voluntary Incidental Trace Allergen Labelling (VITAL®) risk assessment framework for allergen management.

This webinar presentation will provide you with practical tips and hints for allergen management including the latest on VITAL®, the availability of VITAL® training and how using VITAL® contributes to better risk-based allergen management and labelling for your food products. See the program [flyer for more details].

Register now at www.aifst.asn.au/events. Discounts apply for AIFST / Allergen Bureau / AFGC members.

Contact Bronwyn Graham at AIFST bronwyn@aifst.com.au for more information

New treatments trials for peanut allergy

Researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine are part of an international 24-centre trial which aims to test the efficacy of a peanut protein patch for desensitising peanut-allergic children. The study participants are to wear the peanut patch every day for at least two and a half years to establish whether this form of treatment can result in long-term peanut desensitisation in allergic children.

The idea behind using patches to build tolerance is so the peanut protein gets into the outer layer of the skin where it is introduced to the immune system, rather than directly into the blood stream or the gut as it is with needles or oral dosage. It is hoped that going through the skin will result in fewer side effects and adverse reactions for those participating in the study compared to the more traditional immunotherapy protocols.

While results of the peanut-patch study are some time away, a large clinical trial published this week in the Lancet has confirmed that oral immunotherapy has the ability to desensitize allergic individuals to peanuts. More than 80 per cent of participants in that trial were able to safely consume a handful of peanuts after undergoing the oral immunotherapy program.

The study group of 99 children, aged seven to 16 with severe peanut allergies, were given 2 mg doses of standardised peanut flour mixed into their food. Over a period of time, and under close medical attention, the dose was increased to 800 mg. After six months of treatment, more than 80 per cent of the children can now safely eat five peanuts at a time.

The treatment is intended to protect extremely peanut-allergic from a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction or death in case they accidentally consume trace amounts of peanut, rather than to enable them to eat large quantities of peanuts. It is likely, but not yet known, that the patients will need to keep consuming small amounts of peanut protein on a daily basis to ensure their immune system remains tolerant to peanut. Such trials to develop immune tolerance must always be conducted under close supervision by medical specialists.

Reference: Anagnostou et al. 2014. The Lancet. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(13)62301-6

New book: Risk Management for Food Allergy

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 12.02.50 pmAn international group of clinicians, researchers, and public and industrial risk assessors and risk managers have combined their knowledge and results from the EU project EuroPrevall (The Prevalence, Cost and Basis of Food Allergy in Europe) into this book that offers background and practical advice on how to manage unintended presence of food allergens in food products.

Research leader Charlotte Bernhard Madsen, National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, has edited the book in collaboration with René Crevel, Clare Mills and Steven Taylor. The book is aimed at risk assessors and risk managers in food industry and public authorities managing allergens in food on a population basis. It can also be used when teaching food safety.

The Allergen Bureau was very proud to be asked to contribute to this publication and collaborated with Steven L. Taylor, Sylvia Pfaff and Rene Crevel to produce a chapter on the use of precautionary labeling and its usefulness and limitations. The chapter specifically references the use of VITAL® and its application.

The introductory parts of the book and the first pages of selected chapters can be downloaded at http://www.food.dtu.dk/english/News/Nyhed?id=e55332cc-c5e5-4cff-9771-180081de645c 

8th Workshop on Food Allergen Methodologies in May 2014

The Bureau of Chemical Safety in Health Canada’s Food Directorate and the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program (FARRP) are sponsoring the Eighth Workshop on Food Allergen Methodologies to take place in Vancouver, Canada on 5–8 May 2014.

As a follow-up to the 2012 workshop organized by Health Canada and FARRP, the Eighth Workshop on Food Allergen Methodologies aims at increasing consultation, information exchange, and harmonization in the area of food allergens and analytical methods for food allergens. The workshop program is relevant to scientists, chemists, analysts and other representatives from government agencies, university, industry and consumer associations, who will gain an opportunity to discuss issues related to detection, identification, characterization and control of allergen residues in foods

Among the various topics to be discussed are:

  • Approaches to regulation / control of food allergen
  • Analytical method development / evaluation and validation/harmonization
  • Risk assessment / risk management – impact on methodology development
  • Development of reference materials
  • International approaches
  • Gluten-Free: Regulatory update and analytical challenges
  • Impact of processing on food allergen detection.

As in previous workshops, one day of the workshop is specifically designed for food industry attendees who wish to learn more about analytical test methods for detecting food allergens and their uses and interpretation.

Download PDF for 8th Workshop on Food Allergen Methodologies Program or for more information go to http://farrp.unl.edu/wat/food-allergen-methodologies.

Cross-journal collection of open-access allergy articles

The Clinical and Translational Allergy Journal is a peer-reviewed, open access journal providing a platform to publish original research and reviews in the field of allergy. Open access publishing enables free access to all contents ensuring a wide dissemination of articles – the electronic format and the optimised manuscript handling process allows very rapid publication of papers.

Clinical and Translational Allergy is currently participating in a cross-journal article collection that brings together open-access articles on all aspects of food allergy published in BioMed Central’s allergy journals.

Publications from 2013 that can be accessed via this collection include:

  • a paper by Cochrane et al. “Characteristics and purchasing behaviours of food-allergic consumers and those who buy food for them in Great Britain”;
  • a paper by Zurzolo et al. “Peanut Allergen Threshold Study (PATS): validation of eliciting doses using a novel single-dose challenge protocol”;
  • plus the highly-accessed papers “Oral food challenge to wheat: a near-fatal anaphylaxis and review of 93 food challenges in children”; and
  • “Diagnosis and management of non-IgE-mediated cow’s milk allergy in infancy – a UK primary care practical guide”, published by Cianferoni et al., and Venter et al., respectively.

A large number of other publications dating back to early 2012 can also be accessed via this collection.

The purpose of the cross-journal collection is to improve awareness and stimulate interest about food allergy within the community, as well as improve management and treatment for allergy sufferers. The collection can be accessed here or by first going to the Clinical and Translational Allergy Journal website.