Report from the Workshop on Food Allergen Management and Control – Beijing, China

On 14th October 2019, the Chinese Institute of Food Science and Technology held a Workshop on Food Allergen Management and Control in Beijing, China. The event was opened by Dr Junshi Chen from the China National Centre for Food Safety Risk Assessment (CFSA). Dr Chen welcomed everyone to the event and encouraged the participants to think about the future approach to allergen management in China. The topic of Food Allergen Management and Control was introduced by Dr Samuel Godefroy (Laval University, Canada) and the UK government perspective was given by Dr Chan Chun-Han (Food Standards Agency, UK).

The Allergen Bureau welcomed the opportunity to present at the workshop. Georgina Christensen, Allergen Bureau VITAL Coordinator, spoke about “The VITAL Program: An Example of Allergen Thresholds in Allergen Management”. Georgina included the differences in the approach to buying and preparing food between China and her experience in Australia and that the reliance on packaged food in Australia, added with the high prevalence of food allergy, meant that there was a strong focus on allergen management and labelling in Australia. She introduced the VITAL Program and how industry applies Reference Doses in practice. To access Georgina’s presentation Click Here.

Dr Yongxiang Fan, Director of the Food Standards Department, CFSA spoke about what is known about allergens in China and introduced some results from preliminary prevalence studies and surveys of labelled food products and food allergen management practices by food manufacturers in China.

The agenda included industry experts Mr Suchart Chaven (PepsiCo), Dr Pony Chen (Mead Johnson Infant Nutritionals Technology (Guangzhou) Ltd.), Ms, Yanhua Qiao (Danone Dairy), Ms Ace Chen (International Flavors & Fragrances) and Dr Yunling Zheng (Cargill Investments Ltd).

The workshop brought together local and international experts and it was interesting to hear their approach towards allergen management and control in China. There was discussion around introducing allergens for mandatory labelling into legislation in China and, if so, which allergens were most relevant to the Chinese population? The workshop brought together local and international experts and focussed on incorporating international best practice to any allergen management strategies applied in China.