On 19/20 March the FP7 funded Integrated Approaches to Food Allergen and Allergy Risk Management (iFAAM) project kicked-off at the Manchester Institute for Biotechnology (MIB), University of Manchester. The €9million project builds on an earlier €14.3 million research study and will involve the world's leading food allergy experts in the UK, Europe, Australia and US. The project will produce a standardised food allergen management process for food business operators and will develop tools to help implementing and enforcing legal requirements for better protecting allergy sufferers.
The MIB-led (Prof Clare Mills) project brings together 38 partners including, academia, industrial stakeholders, patient groups, and risk managers.
Management of food allergens that accidentally find their way into foods which might otherwise be allergen free, for example through the use of common processing equipment, remains problematic and often gives rise to precautionary “may contain” labels.
The research project, which is expected to take three years to complete, will develop new risk models built on pre-existing clinical data sets to support management of these allergens in a factory environment to minimise the use of such labels. Based on its well-known and long standing expertise in this field the JRC, in cooperation with other research teams, will look at tools to measure allergens in food to allow validation and monitoring of allergen management plans. Other strands of the project will seek to predict who is likely to suffer a severe reaction, identify whether early introduction of allergenic foods and other nutritional factors may be protective against development of allergies later on in life.