World’s biggest study of food allergies gets underway

7_Allergy_FoodsHylobates is one of the SME participants of the world’s biggest ever study of allergies known as the Integrated Approaches to Food Allergen and Allergy Risk Management (iFAAM) which officially got underway on 19 March. The €9million project spearheaded by the University of Manchester builds on an earlier €14.3 million research study and will involve the worlds leading experts in the UK, Europe, Australia and US. The parting point is the lack of evidence to either prevent food allergy developing or protect adequately those who are already allergic. The 38 partners iFAAM consortium will produce a standardised management process for food manufacturing companies and 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.

Up to 20 million European citizens suffer from food allergy which may be triggered by a list of foods including milk, egg, peanuts, soya, wheat, tree nuts, mustard, lupin, fish, crustacean and molluscan shell fish and celery which have to be labelled irrespective of the level at which they are included in a recipe. However, management of food allergens that accidently find their way into foods which might otherwise be free of allergen, for example through the use of common processing equipment, remains problematic and often gives rise to precautionary “may contain” labels.

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. Professor Mills said: “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.”

Sue Hattersley, Head of the UK Food Standard’s Agency’s Allergy Branch said: “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 will provide a greater insight into the development of food allergies. From an industry and regulatory perspective, it is expected that the results of the project will provide more guidance on the management of food allergens.”

New risk models will be built on pre-existing clinical data sets to support management of these allergens in a factory environment to minimise the use of such labels. Luca Bucchini, manager director of iFAAM partner Hylobates Consulting which will contribute to contamination modelling and in disseminating risk analysis methods to food industry and SMEs, said: “Managing food allergens is still a challenge for many food businesses, particularly smaller SMEs.  Better tools can benefit consumers with food allergies, including children.”

Other researchers will look at tools to measure allergens in food to allow validation and monitoring of allergen management plans. Other strands of the three year 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.


Hylo’s Research Team

Plant Food Supplement science and regulation meet up in Brussels

Regulators from 19 European countries, from China and the USA, debated with PlantLIBRA’s (PLANT food supplements: Levels of Intake, Benefit and Risk Assessment) project partners on outcomes and strategies to tackle  priorities in the science of  plant food supplements. The discussions took place during PlantLIBRA’s first Policy Advisory Board (PAB) meeting held last 27th and 28th  of September in Brussels. Francesco Carlucci of the EC Directorate General for Health and Consumers, who attended the meeting, expressed that the DG Health and Consumers is following the research project with interest and that discussions within the Directorate are ongoing on health claims on botanicals. PlantLIBRA is investigating the benefits of botanicals.

Another of the project’s outcomes, a meta-database being developed for plant food supplements, was presented and raised great interest among participants. PAB chairman Mr Joris Geelen of Belgium’s Federal Public Service (FPS) noted the database’s value for experts and policy makers dealing with quality assurance and assessment of risks and benefits of plant food supplements. Furthermore, the board’s members asked for clearer guidelines to interpret scientific evidence on botanicals. Catherine Ecclestone from the EC’s Research Directorate also participated in the meeting.

With this fruitful exchange, PlantLIBRA researchers continue progress to facilitate science-based decision-making in the area of plant food supplements in the interest of consumers. The event was hosted by Belgium’s FPS, and organized in cooperation with the European Botanical Forum, the international food consultancy EAS and Hylobates Consulting, who are partners of the PlantLIBRA’s project.

 

PlantLIBRA (acronym of PLANT food supplements: Levels of Intake, Benefit and Risk Assessment) is a project co-financed in the context of the 7th EU Framework Program. For more information on the project and plant food supplements, please visit http://www.plantlibra.eu/web/

 

– The PlantLIBRA Management Team-

Scientists of EU-funded R&D project meet policy makers to boost the science of plant food supplements

Regulators from across the world will work with the project’s nutritionists, toxicologists and other researchers to identify scientific priorities

Leading scientists of PlantLIBRA (PLANT food supplements: Levels of Intake, Benefit and Risk Assessment) are meeting today with policy regulators of 19 European countries, from the European Commission, from China and from the United States. The meeting will take place in Brussels on the 27th and the 28th of September. Researchers will present project progress and expected outcomes, while hearing from policymakers how they can help facilitate science-based decision-making in this area.

Plant extracts have for centuries provided health benefits to consumers. The use of botanical ingredients, while growing across Europe and worldwide, is facing uncertainty in both regulation and science which may limit its future development. PlantLIBRA has brought scientist together in order to provide more data, knowledge and an enhanced science-based decision-making framework to assess benefits and risks of plant food supplements, with the ultimate goal of benefiting consumers.

The event, which is not open to the public, is PlantLIBRA’s first Policy Advisory Board (PAB)  meeting. It is hosted by Belgium’s Federal Public Service (FPS) Health, Food chain safety and Environment, and organized in cooperation with international food consultancy EAS and the European Botanical Forum, partners of the PlantLIBRA’s project. Mr Joris Geelen of Belgium’s FPS Health is the chair of PlantLIBRA’s PAB.

Hylobates Consulting of Italy, another partner of PlantLIBRA, will present progress in the development of risk-benefit assessment methods for botanicals and discuss with participants the best approach to improve regulatory decisions about plant food supplements in the European Union.

About PlantLIBRA

PlantLIBRA (acronym of PLANT food supplements: Levels of Intake, Benefit and Risk Assessment) is a project co-financed in the context of the 7th EU Framework Program. It began in June 2010 and represents a consortium from four continents, made up of 25 universities and public research institutions, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), industry and non-profit organizations.

– The PlantLIBRA Management Team-

PlantLIBRA goes to Brussels

PlantLIBRA partners (PLANT food supplements: Levels of Intake, Benefit and Risk Assessment) are preparing to meet in Brussels the 27th and the 28th of September with policy regulators of 19 European countries, and authorities of China and the USA, to present project progress and discuss outcomes and on-going activities. Project goal is to provide EU and national policy regulators with an enhanced science-based decision-making framework to evaluate and assess benefits and risks of plant food supplements. The first PlantLIBRA Policy Advisory Board (PAB) meeting will be hosted by Belgium’s FPS Health, Food chain safety and Environment, and is organized in cooperation with the European Advisory Services (EAS), one of PlantLIBRA partners working on the project’s policy implications.

The event will promote discussion on plant food supplements between actors of policy and science. The actors of the regulatory field will learn from the expected outcomes of the project and through this exchange, the PlantLIBRA researchers will also be able to get the needed insights for the elaboration of adequate methodologies and accessible databases for an improved risk benefit assessment specific to plant food supplements.

The PlantLIBRA Management Team

Time for work exchange at Hylobates Consulting

Hylobates Consulting has just hosted Liesbeth Dewitt, one of the scientists from the University of Surrey, Food, Consumer Behaviour and Health Department , UK working  in the framework of the EU network of excellence EURRECA which has as goal the alignment of the micronutrients recommendations across Europe.  Liesbeth has spent a whole week at Hylobates and I had the chance to work with her on the results of the qualitative interviews with experts in the vitamin D, folate and iodine policies carried out in 10 European countries, including Italy. Liesbeth and I have had very fruitful “scientific conversations”, we did some brainstorming on the highlights of the interviews  in the perspective of the article to be published in a scientific journal that will result from the qualitative research. Liesbeth is now doing the hard job of writing up the whole paper.

 

Antonella Guzzon-Research Team

Hylobates raccoglie il parere degli esperti in materia di politiche sui micronutrienti per EURRECA, una rete europea di eccellenza

Hylobates Consulting è partner di EURRECA, una rete di eccellenza finanziata dalla Commissione Europea che ha l’obiettivo di elaborare delle linee guida armonizzate per le raccomandazioni nutrizionali su vitamine e minerali. EURRECA sta sviluppando e applicando degli strumenti che aiuteranno l’EFSA, così come qualsiasi altra organizzazione incaricata dell’elaborazione e della revisione delle raccomandazioni nutrizionali su vitamine e minerali (in Italia è la SINU). Il consorzio è composto da scienziati, rappresentanti degli organismi che definiscono le raccomandazioni nutrizionali, le organizzazioni dei consumatori, le piccole e medie imprese e gli stakeholder più importatni di tutta Europa.

Le raccomandazioni nutrizionali ad oggi pubblicate mostrano una notevole diversità fra i paesi europei, nonostante le esigenze fisiologiche delle varie popolazioni siano molto simili. I motivi di questa variazione possono essere riscontare nelle differenze nei concetti e nella terminologia usata per esprimere queste raccomandazioni, negli indicatori dello stato nutrizionale e/o negli indicatori di salute utilizzati da parte di esperti per determinare un adeguato apporto, nei tipi di studi e riferimenti bibliografici utilizzati, ecc. Tuttavia, queste differenze a livello nazionale potrebbe generare confusione fra i decisori politici, operatori sanitari, industria alimentare e consumatori.

Questo è il motivo per cui si rende necessaria l’armonizzazione delle raccomandazioni nutrizionali. EURRECA ha condotto una ricerca su diversi gruppi di popolazioni per identificare i nutrienti per i quali vi è un urgente bisogno di revisione della dose raccomandata. Dieci micronutrienti sono stati identificati, vale a dire vitamina D, il ferro, folati, vitamina B12, zinco, calcio, vitamina C, selenio, iodio e rame.

Tre sono gli obiettivi chiave di EURRECA:

1. Produrre un insieme di standard fornendo una solida base scientifica per stabilire il fabbisogno di micronutrienti e per elaborare le raccomandazioni nutrizionali.

2. Focalizzarsi sulle esigenze di specifici gruppi vulnerabili: neonati, bambini e adolescenti, adulti, donne in gravidanza e in allattamento, anziani, persone con basso reddito e immigrati.

3. Valutare l’impatto dello status socio-economico, l’origine etnica, la variabilità inter-individuale e di vulnerabilità a causa di fattori genetici, fattori ambientali e dei fenomeni epigenetici.

Come membro del consorzio, Hylobates Consulting ha recentemente condotto in Italia una serie di interviste con esperti sulle politiche relative ai folati, allo iodio e alla vitamina D. L’obiettivo delle interviste è stato quello di investigare il processo decisionale relativo alle politiche di questi micronutrienti attraverso la valutazione delle assunzioni fatte nel processo di elaborazione delle politiche, delle evidenze scientifiche e della considerazione dei soggetti interessati e dei consumatori nel processo decisionale (un po’di background qui, purtroppo a pagamento). I risultati delle interviste condotte in Italia, insieme alle interviste degli altri paesi coinvolti, contribuiranno nell’insieme allo sviluppo di uno strumento che aiuti i decisori nello sviluppo di politiche sulla base di raccomandazioni armonizzate per i micronutrienti.

Antonella

Hylobates Science

Questo posto è una traduzione. Il post originale si trova qui.

Hylobates investigates the experts’ opinion on micronutrients policies for EURRECA, an EU Network of Excellence

Hylobates Consulting is a partner of EURRECA, a Network of Excellence funded by the European Commission which has the goal to produce harmonised scientific guidelines for micronutrient (vitamins & minerals) recommendations. EURRECA is developing and applying tools that will help EFSA, as well as any organisation charged with developing and revising nutrient recommendations. The consortium is composed of scientists, representatives of nutrient requirement setting bodies, consumer organisations, small & medium-sized enterprises and wider stakeholders from across Europe.

To date,  published values of nutrient recommendations show a wide variation among European countries despite the physiological requirements of the different populations are very similar. The reasons for this variation may be found in differences in the concepts and sets of terminology used to express these recommendations, the nutritional status indicators and/or health indicators used by scientific experts to determine adequate intake, the types of studies and references used, etc. Nevertheless, these differences at national level might generate confusion for policy-makers, health professionals, food industry and consumers. This is the reason why harmonised recommendations are needed.

EURRECA has carried out a research across several populations groups to identify the nutrients for whom there is an urgent need of review of their recommended intake. Ten micronutrients have been identified, i.e. vitamin D, iron, folate, vitamin B12, zinc, calcium, vitamin C, selenium, iodine and copper.

Three are the key objectives of EURRECA:

1. Deliver an aligned set of standards providing a robust scientific basis for establishing micronutrient requirements and for devising micronutrient recommendations.

2. Focus on the needs of specific vulnerable groups: infants, children and adolescents, adults, pregnant and lactating women, elderly, people with low income and immigrants.

3. Evaluate the impact of socio-economic status, ethnic origin, inter-individual variability and vulnerability due to genetics, environmental factors and epigenetic phenomena.

As member of the consortium, Hylobates Consulting has recently carried out in Italy a set on interviews with experts on folate, iodine and vitamine D on the relevant nutrition policy. The aim of the interviews was to address the policy decision making process related to these micronutrients (background abstract material is available here) by investigating the assumptions in the process of policy formulation, the evidence involved and consideration of stakeholders and consumers in the process of policy making. Results of the interviews from Italy, together with those of the interviews from the other countries participating to the task, will contribute altogether to the development of a tool which will aid policy makers in developing policies based on aligned micronutrient recommendations.

Antonella

Hylobates Science

2011 PlantLIBRA project meeting to be held in May on Dracula’s homeland

Hylobates Consulting is happy to announce that in less than two month the 2nd PlantLIBRA project meeting will take place. Our  Project Management Team is working hard on these days to tie up loose ends for the organization of the event, and make it as relevant and scientifically exciting as we can.

This year, the congress which annually brings together all the partners contributing to PlantLIBRA’s development and success will be held in Brasov, placed in the well-known Romanian region of Transylvania.

The 2nd project meeting hosted by the our Romanian partner, the Transilvania University of Brasov, will take place between 17-20 May.

This international congress will also help the Coordinator, Prof. Restani of the University of Milan, to assess the progress of PlantLIBRA, ten months after the project start-up in June, against the objectives agreed with the EC.

The tight schedule of the 4 day-event include plenary sessions to discuss the first year results, WP meetings, to interact with policy-marks, stakeholders, other scientists and a dedicated session to discuss the latest news from the world of botanicals and policy- making.

Hylobates Consulting would like to thank Dr Mihaela Badea from the Universitatea TRANSILVANIA din Brasov for her help in the organisation of the meeting, and wishes this PlantLIBRA annual congress to be a key event to achieve the project goals – thanks to the participation of all partners and guests.

Sonia

PlantLIBRA Management Team

Hylobates intervista 35 persone in Italia per il progetto Foodrisc

Patrick Wall, coordinatore di FoodRisC

Hylobates Consulting è uno dei quattordici partner del Progetto FoodRisC (Food Risk Communication –perceptions and communication of food risk/benefits across Europe – in italiano “Comunicazione del Rischiodegli Alimenti – percezioni e comunicazione dei rischi e benefici degli alimenti in Europa”), finanziatodalla Comunità Europea nell’ambito del 7° Programma Quadro.

Il progetto ha una durata triennale ed ha l’obiettivo di elaborare una mappa delle reti e delle fonti di informazione che contribuiscono all acomunicazione dei rischi e dei benefici degli alimenti in Europa. Il consorzio che gestisce il progetto ècostituito da istituti di ricerca, PMI, organizzazioni dei consumatori che nell’insieme rappresentano nove Stati Membri.
I progressi della ricerca sono stati discussi durante il secondo meeting del progetto che si è tenuto a Londradal 3 al 4 marzo 2011.
Hylobates ha portato a termine 35 interviste con i consumatori, esperti e stakeholder che sono state condotte in Italia.  Altrettante interviste sono state condotte da altri cinque partner del progetto (Belgio,Irlanda, Lettonia, Spagna, Paesi Bassi).

I risultati delle interviste di tutti i paesi coinvolti contribuiranno alla valutazione della comunicazione dei rischi e benefici degli alimenti tra i consumatori, esperti estakeholder che rappresentano diversi passaggi della filiera alimentare. In particolare, le interviste sarannoanalizzate per identificare le questioni che sono di maggiore interesse per i consumatori in relazione allacomunicazione dei rischi e benefici degli alimenti.
Più in generale, le aree di ricerca del progetto includono:

  • La caratterizzazione delle questioni relative al rischio e beneficio degli alimenti e le implicazioni perla comunicazione ad esse correlate
  • Il potenziale ruolo dei nuovi social medi nella comunicazione dei rischi e benefici degli alimenti
  • Il modo in cui i consumatori rispondono all’informazione che percepiscono come incerta,contraddittoria e che disorienta e sviluppare dei criteri rilevanti di segmentazione
  • L’applicabilità del concetto di ricerca dell’informazione nell’ideazione della comunicazione dei rischi e benefici degli alimenti
  • Mettere a punto delle modalità pratiche con cui tener conto di come i consumatori formano le loro opinioni e deliberano con l’obiettivo di fornire benefici sostanziali agli stakeholders nello sviluppo della comunicazione

I risultati della ricerca saranno utilizzati per fornire ai decisori politici, alle autorità nel campo alimentare e ad altri stakeholders degli strumenti di lavoro con lo scopo di facilitare la comunicazione efficace e coerentenel campo alimentare e quindi favorire la comprensione dei consumatori attraverso messaggi chiari.

35 in-depth interviews conducted in Italy for the FoodRisC EC project

 

Photo of Patrick Wall, coordinator of FoodRisC

Patrick Wall, coordinator of FoodRisC

Hylobates Consulting is one of  fourteen partners of the EU 7th Framework project FoodRisC (Food Risk Communication – perceptions and communication of food risk/benefits across Europe), a three years project aimed at mapping out the  networks and information sources contributing to food risk and benefit communication across Europe. The project consortium is made up by research institutes, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), consumers organisations which altogether represent nine EU Member States.

Progress of work has been discussed during the 2nd meeting of the project which took place in London on March 3rd-4th 2011.

Hylobates has completed 35 interviews with consumers, experts and stakeholders  conducted in Italy. Similar interviews were carried out by other five partners of the project (Belgium, Ireland,  Latvia, Spain, The Netherlands). The results of the interviews from all countries involved will contribute to the assessment of food risk and benefit communication among consumers, experts and stakeholders representing different step of the food chain. In particular, the interviews will be analysed to identify the issues which are of most interest for consumers in relation to communication of food risk and benefit.

More generally the fields of investigation of the project include:

  • the characterization of food risk and benefit issues and the related communication implications
  • the potential role of new social media in communicating food risk/benefit
  • the way in which consumers respond to information they perceive as uncertain, contested or confusing and to develop relevant segmentation criteria
  • the applicability of the concept of information seeking to the design of food risk/benefit communications
  • developing practical ways in which consumer sense-making and deliberation can be taken into account in order to provide substantive benefits to stakeholders in developing communications.

The results of the research will be used to provide policy makers, food authorities and other stakeholders with a toolkit aimed at facilitating the effective and coherent communication on food and thus promoting consumer understanding through clear messages.

Hylobates Science

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