The Government Chemist hosted a meeting of the University of Manchester Food Allergy Network, MFAN, at LGC on 11 April 2017. The meeting attracted 27 delegates from very relevant organisations in the allergen research and management areas. Chaired by Professor Clare Mills, MFAN coordinates research on the risk management of food allergens with input from the analytical and food industry, academics, regulators and retailers. Attendees from the UK, Europe and Australia were joined electronically by researchers from the University of Nebraska and the US Food and Drug Administration.
The group discussed international research carried out to assess the performance of immunoassay and mass spectrometry techniques in detecting and measuring food allergens. Allergenic compounds can provoke life threatening reactions even when present in food at very low levels. Therefore it is very important to establish whether allergens can be detected accurately and reliably. This work is vital to protect the health of consumers with allergies, improve food labelling and reduce food recalls that impact on the balance sheets and reputations of food companies.
The group agreed on findings that will be published in scientific peer-reviewed literature later in 2017 and decided on the priorities of a programme of future innovative work.
Dr Michael Walker, Nominated Officer, Government Chemist team, commented on the value of this meeting:
Allergen risk management is both scientifically challenging and important from many different perspectives. By facilitating this international event organised by Prof Clare Mills the Government Chemist is supporting progress in allergen measurement research and therefore better placed to respond to current and future allergen related referee cases.
For any enquiries, contact the Government Chemist team.