I have been the VITAL Co-ordinator for over 15 years for the Allergen Bureau and I am sad to be leaving! This role has been a wonderful opportunity and a privilege to work with a professional and passionate team. I started with the Allergen Bureau in 2008, when it had graduated from a working group of the Australian Food and Grocery Council to its own entity. It was run by the indomitable Fiona Fleming and Kirsten Grinter, who were inspirational and supportive to me both during their management of the Allergen Bureau and now. The Allergen Bureau would not be in its current form, as a respected authority on allergen management, without Fiona and Kirsti’s vision, as well as Robin Sherlock and other early contributors to the Bureau.
The Allergen Bureau exists to serve its stakeholders, in the interests of the allergic consumer. As well as food business organisations, our stakeholders include allergic patient support organisations, clinicians, regulators, and enforcement agencies. The stakeholders to the Allergen Bureau have been wonderful to work with – always pushing the Allergen Bureau with new questions, perspectives and requests for increasing functionality of VITAL Online. I have had the opportunity to give many presentations, including in Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the United States as well as to connect with stakeholders from multiple countries. Our stakeholders and advocates for the Allergen Bureau are those who are bound by the commitment for the best outcome for people with food allergies and their carers. I have been lucky to have met many such people – and their often-unseen work contributes to the safety of the food supply and trust in the food industry.
The biggest strength of the Allergen Bureau is the provision of a pre-competitive space where companies who are fierce competitors for sales, speak openly about challenges and solutions for allergen management. The Allergen Bureau can support such a forum and further, their “do good” philosophy is evident in its investment in education of the food industry in allergen management, including the provision of many free resources and a free helpline. This allows high quality, unbiased, science-based information to be freely available to food businesses who may otherwise not have had such information and contributes to better outcomes.
I believe that the global food industry is in a better position, with a more educated supply chain (around allergens) due to the hard work of the Allergen Bureau and its supporters and stakeholders and this makes me immensely proud and thankful to have been a part of the Allergen Bureau.
Thank you to the past and current board of the Allergen Bureau, including the current president, Jasmine Lacis Lee. Thank you to all the Allergen Bureau support staff who are the best colleagues and team. The biggest thank you to the stakeholders who have provided challenge and appreciation over the years! I am moving into a full time position in industry and I hope to remain, and look forward to remaining connected with the Allergen Bureau.