Woolworths New Zealand wins 2020 NZIFST Allergen Bureau Award

The Allergen Bureau is pleased to announce that Woolworths New Zealand was selected as the winner of the 2020 NZIFST Allergen Bureau Award for best practice food allergen management in New Zealand.

The award was presented to Stella Stacey on behalf of Sue Wheeler and the Quality & Food Safety Woolworths New Zealand team, by Debbie Hawkes (Allergen Bureau and Hawkins Watts), at the recent 2020 NZIFST Awards ceremony in Auckland. Stella was joined in accepting the award by some of the Quality and Food Safety team – Mark Bell, Deven Kumaran, Raj Reddy, and Angela Yates.

Award nominations were evaluated by the selection committee based on their contribution to a consistent, science-based approach to food allergen risk assessment, management and communication that assists allergen sensitive consumers to make informed choices based on label information; and guides industry best practice in New Zealand.

In awarding this award to Woolworths New Zealand, the judges noted that:

  • Their program already covers the complexity of a very broad range of products and manufacturing processes, with the recent additional area of focus on change management and pack declaration to ensure the consumers are aware of any changes that may impact them
  • Actions include the alert status needed which can be advising customers to check the allergen advice, or, a pink coloured alert stating there is a new recipe where there may be a change in the ingredient (and therefore allergen status), or, a combination of both
  • In addition, there is an Allergen Change Alert form which is shared with the Allergen Action Forum for inclusion on relevant consumer websites

We are so proud to have won the award and to have been recognised for the diligence and care we put into developing products under the Woolworths brands for the second year running. The safety of our customers is our key concern and has driven the continued improvement of our allergen policies and supplier requirements”, said Sue Wheeler, Category Quality Manager, Food – Woolworths New Zealand when informed of their award success. “To have the work the Quality Team do, ensuring our packaging accurately reflects the products developed and are safe for our customers to consume, is a fantastic acknowledgement of their dedication and the attention to the detail demanded by our policies.

The Allergen Bureau applauds these best practice processes to manage this critical scenario. Unfortunately, history has shown that when recipe and allergen status changes have not been effectively communicated, it may cause tragic results.

Woolworths New Zealand receive a complimentary registration to attend the 2021 Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology (AIFST) Convention, including a return economy airfare to Australia and three nights’ accommodation.

In winning the 2020 NZIFST Allergen Bureau Award for best practice food allergen management in New Zealand, Woolworths New Zealand repeats their success of also receiving the 2019 Award.

Photo: Woolworths New Zealand accepting the award
Back Row Left to Right:
Mark Bell, Deven Kumaran, Raj Reddy
Front Row Left to Right:
Stella Stacey, Angela Yates