University of Nebraska gets grant to reduce allergen recalls

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

©iStock/piotr_malczyk
©iStock/piotr_malczyk
Food allergen experts at the University of Nebraska have received $20,000 for work to reduce undeclared allergen recalls.

The Food Allergy Research and Resource Program (FARRP) at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln’s Food Science and Technology Department was awarded the money by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Foundation.

They will identify root-cause labeling errors and recommend best-practice procedures for manufacturers, suppliers and retailers to reduce such recalls.

Susan Borra, executive director of the FMI Foundation and chief wellness officer for FMI, said undeclared allergens are the leading cause of US food recalls.

“The FDA has stated that Reportable Food Registry reports of undeclared food allergens increased from 30% to 47%​ during the five year period from 2009-2013. The FMI Foundation is proud to support research which aims to improve public health efforts nationwide.”

The research – led by Steve Taylor, professor and co-director of the program; Joe Baumert, associate professor and co-director and Jamie Kabourek - will evaluate and classify the last two years of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and US Department of Agriculture (USDA) allergen recalls.

This will be done based on explanations from the manufacturer and the regulatory agencies.

Dr Taylor said FARRP will survey the best practices used by manufacturers on an international scale.

“By focusing on how primary root-cause errors occur and identifying appropriate preventive measures, food allergen recalls can be reduced, thus creating better protection for food allergic consumers, decreased food waste and reduced economic burden for suppliers, manufacturers and retailers.”

Preliminary findings will be presented at the annual Safe Quality Food International Conference in Dallas on 7-9 November 2017. FARRP also intends to submit a paper for peer-reviewed publication.

Related topics: HACCP, R&D, Data management

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