The Allergen Bureau has commenced work on a web-based version of the VITAL® Calculator.
VITAL® Online is being developed in response to feedback from both domestic and international subscribers for a more user friendly version of the VITAL Calculator. In addition to making VITAL easier to use, increased uptake would help international efforts for the Allergen Bureau’s VITAL framework to underpin global standards in allergen labelling risk management.
Funding for development of VITAL® Online has been provided by Food Innovation Australia Ltd.
VITAL is a standardised allergen risk assessment framework for food producers – developed by the Allergen Bureau in response to an industry call for a risk-based approach to labelling for allergen cross contact in manufactured foods. The VITAL framework provides for ongoing monitoring and verification of risk assessment processes to ensure any changes to the level of risk are recognised and acted upon without delay.
A core component of the VITAL framework is the (current) Excel-based spreadsheet known as the VITAL Calculator. The VITAL Calculator allows the assessment of likely sources of allergen cross contact from raw materials and the processing environment, plus an evaluation of the amount present and a review of the ability to reduce the allergenic material from all contributing sources. The VITAL Calculator also specifies a particular precautionary allergen statement to be used according to the level of cross contact identified.
VITAL® Online will provide an improved, user-friendly interface and, importantly, allow simultaneous updates of the VITAL Calculator when new science becomes available. VITAL® Online will providethe Australian and New Zealand and international food industry manufacturing sectors with:
- Increased accessibility to, and familiarity with, the VITAL® framework
- Increased harmonization of international allergen risk management activities; and
- Reduced food allergen-related costs and issues.