Sunday, March 24, 2013
EU sponsors study on food allergy
Crop of food experts have commenced work on the biggest study of food allergy in the world, worth about Euro 15.1 million as the research takes off with sponsorship by the European Commission.
NaijaAgroNet recalls that the world's biggest ever study on allergies;spearheaded by the University of Manchester.
The €9million project builds on an earlier €14.3 million research study and will involve the world’s leading experts in the UK, Europe, Australia and US. Together they mark the biggest study of food allergy in the world.
Up to 20 million European citizens suffer from food allergy. However management of both food allergy, by patients and health practitioners, and allergens, by industry, is thwarted by lack of evidence to either prevent food allergy developing or protect adequately those who are already allergic.
The EC-sponsored research, known as the Integrated Approaches to Food Allergen and Allergy Risk Management (iFAAM), will produce a standardised management process for companies involved in food manufacturing. It will also develop tools designed to enforce these regulations and produce evidence-based knowledge to inform new health advice on nutrition for pregnant women, babies and allergy sufferers.
The Manchester team will work with 38 partners including, industrial stakeholders represented by Unilever and Eurofins, patient groups representing people at risk of severe allergic reactions from Germany, UK and Ireland and a risk manager and assessor group including the UK Food Standards Agency.
The project, Media Relations Officer, Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences The University of Manchester, Alison Barbuti, said will work loosely with the clinical community, working in collaboration with the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
Professor Clare Mills, from the Allergy and Respiratory Centre of The University of Manchester's Institute of Inflammation and Repair and based in the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, will head the study.
"This is a massive research project which will have far reaching consequences for consumers and food producers. The evidence base and tools that result from this will support more transparent precautionary “may contain” labelling of allergens in foods which will make life easier for allergy sufferers as they try to avoid problem foods.”
Nikolaos Papadopoulos, Head of Allergy Department, University of Athens and President Elect EAACI, said
"Food Allergy is a disease that can be conquered, if critical steps are taken. iFAAM sets the stage for facilitating such steps to be taken."
Dr Bert Popping, Eurofins Scientific Director, said: “Eurofins is excited to be part of this European Commission project. We are looking forward to sharing our newly-developed multiple allergen detection method and making a meaningful contribution to this crucial initiative.”
Sue Hattersley, Head of the UK Food Standard’s Agency’s Allergy Branch said: “We welcome the launch of the iFAAM, which the FSA will be supporting through some of our own current research projects. We anticipate that the information learned through iFAAM will help determine a more consistent approach to providing consumers with information, so they can make safe choices about the food they eat.
Furthermore it has the potential to provide a much greater insight into the development of food allergies – and, from an industry and regulatory perspective, more guidance and a big impact on the management of allergens in food manufacturing and production.”
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