The Allergen Forum
Managing the risks associated with the presence of food allergens in ingredients and products is a major food safety challenge faced by food manufacturers and suppliers at all levels of the supply chain. Food manufacturers and importers require stringent and robust food safety management strategies to enable food allergic consumers to make safe food choices while also providing products for those unaffected by food allergy.
The Forum was established by the AFGC in 2004 to support members and the broader food industry manage the challenges associated with food allergens through the development and management of industry guidance and resources.
The Forum is made up of representatives from AFGC member companies with expertise and interest in food allergen management. The Forum meets quarterly either in person or by telecon and is chaired by Fiona Fleming.
The Forum works closely with the Allergen Bureau which was originally established under the Allergen Forum before it evolved into its current governance structure with a separate Board of Directors.
Forum activities include:
- Food Industry Guide to Allergen Management and Labelling
First launched in 2007 the Guide provides information and tools to promote compliance with both mandatory allergen labelling and industry best practice for allergen management within manufacturing.
- Stakeholder Round Table
In November 2016, the AFGC facilitated a stakeholder round table to review key learnings in relation to the coconut recalls which occurred during 2016 and develop actions to address the key learnings. The roundtable brought together governments, retailers, manufacturers, testing laboratories and consumer representatives in a closed environment to seek consensus solutions to the problems that arose during the recalls.
- National Allergy Strategy
The AFGC is represented on the National Allergy Strategy Food Service Working Group by Fiona Fleming.
- Food Allergen Collaboration
FSANZ established the Allergen Collaboration in late 2011 to strengthen engagement and collaboration among a range of stakeholders involved in managing food allergens.
Members of the Collaboration, including food manufacturing, consumer and government representatives, meet to explore non-regulatory measures that can improve the management of food allergens.
To date, the Collaboration has:
- audited existing allergen communication material
- developed a series of key messages about food allergen management for various sectors throughout the food chain
- launched a food allergen portal.
- Regulatory Reform
The Allergen Forum is the key reference group for AFGC’s regulatory reform initiatives relating to food allergens
Fiona Fleming, Advisor, Policy and Regulation