Safe foods for allergic people: New website to guide the food industry in the right direction

Pia Nørhede, Charlotte Bernhard Madsen, L. Bennett, R. Crittenden, E. Botjes, C. Bruijnzeel-Koomen, S. Cochrane, R. Crevel, S. Gemini, M.H. Gowland, C. Hischenhuber, Å. Jenner, P. Johnson, C. Mills, M. Lindblom, S. Pfaff, M.-C. Robert, S. Schnadt, E. Södergren, F. TimmermansB. Vlieg

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterResearch

Abstract

Introduction Recently a 7-year-old British boy died after drinking pineapple & coconut juice drink. The boy was allergic to milk. The juice drink contained milk, which was declared in the ingredient list as required in the labelling law. The mother to the boy did not read the ingredient list, as she did not expect to find milk in a juice drink. The juice drink had pictures of pineapple and coconut but none of milk despite that it contained greater amounts of milk than coconut. At the moment the British authorities investigate if the company behind the juice drink has broken the law. How can food companies avoid being a part of such a tragic story? The EuroPrevall project has developed a new website on the management of food allergens, www.foodallergens.info, which is aimed at the food industry. Content on the new website about food allergy: • Basal knowledge about food allergy such as how big the problem is, possible causes, prevention, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment. • The European law. The labelling law is the only law specifically mentioning food allergy. But both the general food law and the hygiene law require food companies to provide safe foods. • Guidance to the food industry on how to handle food allergens in the food production including how to minimise the risk of unintentional presence of allergens in a product. • Access to the InformAll database that contains detailed information about almost 100 foods, which may cause allergy. The database covers both the commonly eaten foods such as milk, egg and hazelnut as well as the more exotic foods such as frogs. You may for example use the database to get an idea about how common a specific food allergy is. • Access to the Food Allergy Portal, which is a collection of links to more than 100 websites about food allergy in 10 different European languages. Conclusion: If the company behind the pineapple & coconut fruit juice had asked an allergy expert for advice or had thought about allergic people themselves during the development of their product, the tragic story probably could have been avoided. An expert in allergy would ask if the milk really was necessary in the product. If the company insisted the expert would advice the company to warn allergic people about the content of milk by including it in the name or in the picture on the front of the carton.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2009
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventXXVIII EAACI Congress 2009 - Warsaw, Poland
Duration: 6 Jun 200910 Jun 2009
Conference number: 18

Conference

ConferenceXXVIII EAACI Congress 2009
Number18
CountryPoland
CityWarsaw
Period06/06/200910/06/2009

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