Jasmine Lacis-Lee is a specialist in food safety management within the Australian food manufacturing industry. Jasmine has a Bachelor of Science, with more than 20 years’ experience as a food microbiologist and over 15 years’ experience working in the food & beverage industries. Joining the Allergen Bureau in 2018, and now newly appointed President, we caught up with Jasmine recently to find out just what this new appointment means.
What does the role of President of the Allergen Bureau mean to you?
I am truly honoured that my fellow Allergen Bureau directors have appointed and supported my transition into the role. Having worked in allergen management for more than 20 years, I have watched the organisation evolve and adapt to industry needs and I look forward to guiding the future evolution of the Allergen Bureau.
Allergen management has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember, and I am humbled to be able to work with an equally passionate group of people at the Allergen Bureau. This appointment allows me to give back to the industry that so generously supported me early in my career.
Working collaboratively with food industry and consumer groups will be key to the success of the Allergen Bureau as we continue to build on the great industry resources available and ongoing support ‘for food industry, by food industry’ to provide safer food options for those with food allergies.
What are you most proud of during your time at the Allergen Bureau?
As director since 2018, the Allergen Bureau has delivered many great resources and industry tools, but the increased global acceptance of the Allergen Bureau is a standout achievement for me. The work that we do goes beyond just Australian/New Zealand, now with global food industry reach. And it’s not just the VITAL Program, but many of the resource documents, which continue to be referenced in global working group meetings, in new industry guidance documents written in other jurisdictions, and presentations generally discussing allergen management.
What is your go to Allergen Bureau resource that you can’t live without/why?
That’s a hard one. The one I have used the most over the years would be the Unexpected Allergens in Foods documents. Why? I spent some time reviewing raw material documentation in my early years in QA and it was invaluable in guiding what ingredients might be of concern and what questions to ask.
What’s next on the horizon for the Allergen Bureau?
With the FAO/WHO expert consultation on risk assessment of food allergens providing recommendations on priority allergens, thresholds, and PAL, the Allergen Bureau will be looking to work with industry, government, and consumers to review how these changes (if accepted by Codex) may impact the Australian/NZ industry. The next step for the VITAL program is to look at whether the use of standardised consumption data for the Reference Amount will promote further consistency in industry risk assessment for precautionary allergen labelling – more consistency, means greater reassurance for the allergic consumer.
On a personal note, I would love to see the VITAL standard adopted by industry, getting us one step closer to our mission of leading the global food industry in best practice allergen management, sharing information that builds trust and transparency that supports allergen sensitive consumers to make informed choices.