Meeting Report: MoniQA food fraud and allergen management conference

The second MoniQA conference on food fraud and allergen management took place in Vienna in June 2018. For those who weren’t there, a book of abstracts has been published and a comprehensive conference report has been prepared by the UK Government Chemist team who contributed to the event.

Speakers of note within the food allergy component of the two-day program included Karin Hoffmann-Sommergruber from the Medical University of Vienna who spoke on precautionary allergen labelling; Professor Clare Mills, University of Manchester, UK, presenting ‘Free-from foods – what does it mean for allergens?’ and; Dr Rene Crevel1, formerly of Unilever UK, who gave an overview of new tools for allergen risk assessment and management arising from the Integrated Approaches to Food Allergy and Allergen risk Management (iFAAM) project.

Also discussed were AOAC standard method performance requirements for allergen detection methods, improved reference materials for gluten analysis, and allergen testing challenges, where three case studies were presented to show how different users were able to overcome specific challenges.

Dr Bert Popping, Managing Director and Co-owner, FOCOS, Germany, looked at the benefits and challenges of consumer analytical devices, particularly for people with food allergies or coeliac disease. He pointed to the 2018 AOAC stakeholders’ guidance document for consumer analytical devices that was published in Journal of AOAC International earlier this year. This guidance document emphasises that consumer devices should not be used in isolation to determine whether or not a food is safe to eat.

According to the conference report, the next task force meetings will be in Toronto, Canada, at an AOAC allergen meeting in August 2019. The next MoniQA conference will occur in the latter half of 2019.

1.   Dr Crevel is a member of the VITAL Scientific Expert Panel. See VITAL Science http://allergenbureau.net/vital/vital-science/