Close to 100 participants from Europe, Canada, north and south America, Australia and Hong Kong attended an exciting and informative conference on food fraud and food allergy in Bari, Italy, on 26th and 27th January 2017. The conference was organised by Prof. Roland Poms of MoniQA (International Association for Monitoring and Quality Assurance in the Total Food Supply Chain) and Dr Linda Monaci of ISPA (Istituto di Scienze delle Produzioni Alimentari).
Michael Walker, of the Government Chemist Programme in LGC, delivered a keynote talk ‘Food detectives: what it takes to trace food fraud’ in the Food Fraud section of the conference. Michael also discussed allergen analysis with a talk entitled ‘What do we need to measure? How should it be reported? And how low can we go?’ in the Food Allergen Management section.
Food fraud and food allergen management are topics that rarely share one event, but have a lot in common. Appropriate food labeling and consumer trust are very important issues which need to be managed by the food industry. Both may have strong impact on the health and socio-economic status of a society. They both need adequate communication and demand the use of comprehensive databases and sophisticated analytical methods. Both require a collaborative effort from science, industry and the regulatory environment.
The conference brought together participants from the food industry, ingredient suppliers, agricultural producers, retail and trade, consumer organizations, private and public analytical laboratories, representatives from R&D, marketing, quality control, legal departments, as well as food scientists, technologists, analytical method providers, regulatory bodies, authorities and the media. There were productive discussions and sharing of ideas that, it is hoped, will assist stakeholders to address the problems in these interrelated areas.
Notes from the event are collected in the attached document.