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Key Successes of the NZ Allergen Bureau - Food Labeling Advice

 Key Successes of the NZ Allergen Bureau - Food Labeling Advice

Debbie Hawkes, Allergen Bureau

The Allergen Bureau - definitive knowledge of Food Allergens

The ever increasing incidence of food allergens is an international phenomena, creating more need from allergen sensitive consumers to be able to make informed choices based on clear food labels.

The Allergen Bureau is the peak industry body representing food industry allergen management in Australia and New Zealand.  A free helpline, website, and monthly eNews provide technical support. The VITAL (Voluntary Incidental Trace Allergen Labelling) program provides a systematic scientifically based, allergen risk assessment process. This is routinely reviewed by the VITAL Scientific Expert Panel, which is made up of recognised global food allergen experts.

Ongoing activities :

ü  Risk Review - Interactive website guiding users through best practise steps

ü  Certification - Auditable scheme under ISO 17065

ü  Webinar series –in progress with support of AusIndustry

ü  Coordinating FAMS 2019 conference

ü  Review and update of Food Industry Guide to VITAL Program

Submissions on Allergen related FSANZ proposals. 
e.g. P1044 – Plain English Allergen Labelling

Debbie has a Food Technology degree from Massey University and has been working in the Food Industry for 30 years. The majority of her career has been in NZ based, Quality and Food Safety/ Operational roles, covering ANZ, ASPAC regional and global Food ingredient markets, for 
Danisco / Dupont, and currently at Hawkins Watts.

Debbie has had a long involvement with the Allergen Bureau, originally in 2006 with the Industry pilot working group, when the “VITAL” name was first suggested. Debbie applied her Excel skills to translate the VITAL process into the first version VITAL calculator. And more recently Debbie was 
a member of the VITAL Phase 2 – Risk Communication (Labelling) Working Group.

Debbie has been very impressed by the achievements of the core Allergen Bureau team over the last decade and is keen to further progress this very valuable work, therefore in Oct-2017 joined the AB Board.

This seminar will be held in Seminar Room 1 located upstairs at the ASB Show Grounds. Access to this area is via the staircase located to the right of Show information in the main Show Ground entrance. Please follow signage or ask show information for more details.