the food safety centre allergen resource bureau

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February 2006. Allergen Bureau. Objectives. To improve public health and business risk outcomes for the entire food manufacturing sector within Australia, byunderstanding the allergen-related knowledge base of the SME food manufacturing sector, and the gaps in this knowledge, andIdentifying next steps for designing and facilitating a system to deliver allergen information to the SME sector.

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1. February 2006 Allergen Bureau The Food Safety Centre Allergen Resource Bureau Pilot project to identify and reduce allergen related knowledge gaps in the small and medium enterprise sector of the Australian food industry Amabel Fulton and Chris Chapman

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3. February 2006 Allergen Bureau What recommendations? Simple tools and systems to assist small to medium food manufacturers to manage allergens Options for cost-effective continuation of this initiative

4. February 2006 Allergen Bureau This session Results to date What services would help SMEs manage allergens better? What options for continuation of this initiative?

5. February 2006 Allergen Bureau Methods Survey designed to collect data on allergen management practices information needs and sources customer info needs critical allergen issues, and training Survey emailed to 600 through NFIS Response rate of <5% after 2 weeks

6. February 2006 Allergen Bureau 11 allergen best practices Do you segregate storage of raw materials eg. allergens below non-allergens? Do you audit raw material suppliers or co-packers? Do you use specific scoops and tools for handling allergens (e.g., colour-coded) Do you do a full clean-down between production runs? Do you carefully and specifically label the finished product?

7. February 2006 Allergen Bureau 11 allergen best practices Do you conduct risk assessment(s)? Do you include allergen hazards into a site HACCP plan? Do you conduct allergen testing of environment, raw material and/or finished product? Do you conduct staff awareness training and updates? Do you have an allergen re-work policy? Do you utilise production scheduling for allergen control?

8. February 2006 Allergen Bureau Activity For questions 6-16 For every always answer, give yourself 1 point For every sometimes answer, give yourself 0.5 points Add up your score

9. February 2006 Allergen Bureau Your score?

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23. February 2006 Allergen Bureau Improving allergen management More than 95% identified room for improvement. Suggestions included: conduct staff training, improve labelling, review allergen management protocol, improve storage segregation, improve cleaning between production runs, use specific tools, conduct risk assessment and audit suppliers.

24. February 2006 Allergen Bureau Critical issues 18% indicated that their company had critical issues relating to allergen management: reliability of suppliers change of ingredients where we are not notified imported goods cross contamination labelling of inwards goods

25. February 2006 Allergen Bureau Information needs 41% need more information about allergens including: Specific reactions to sulphur products Nature and risk of fish and shellfish allergen Update of products that contain allergens Reports of legal cases or issues Risk management procedures Recent research List of allergens and their risks Handling guidelines for restaurants

26. February 2006 Allergen Bureau Information sources 86% of respondents have sought allergen information The three most common sources: Your suppliers (72%) The Food Standards Code (55%) In-house staff (41%) 23% of respondents have had difficulty in obtaining particular information

27. February 2006 Allergen Bureau Training in allergen management 45% of respondents reported no staff trained in allergen management 32% reported staff trained in allergen management.

28. February 2006 Allergen Bureau Summary – (early days) About 60% allergen aware About 40% allergen pro-active About 40% allergen unaware About 20% have critical issues About 40% need more information

29. February 2006 Allergen Bureau Where to from here? Aim to have 100 surveys completed Please complete the confidential survey today, return to registration desk Bureau members to encourage suppliers to complete survey

30. February 2006 Allergen Bureau What services would help SMEs manage allergens better? Forum where they could get together with larger food companies and regulatory bodies as well and communicate ideas – allow them to express concerns, give ideas about how to manage allergens and labelling Website – access information – where go to, need right links SMEs not time / awareness, go through industry bodies or regulators who have to contact them, make aware that if not up to date allergen policy, they can be providers of website address or information Smaller suppliers don’t even know what questions to ask bc not aware of issues, govt food safety certificates, $25, basic outline, local council offered on Sat morning Basic tools to do their risk assessment, not so advanced as bigger companies Provide the information in steps, basic outline, with build of information gradually – web, course, info Bureau could provide training sessions – generic or tailored for SMEs Larger companies with established systems could agree to mentor or sponsor a smaller company until brought up to speed Access to cheap and reliable testing if want to verify their processes

31. February 2006 Allergen Bureau What options for continuation of this initiative? Partnerships between industry enforcement, industry regulators, build an environment where fostering compliance, all parts of business involved Offer memberships to get support base, and cost is based on company size, sliding scale, get lots more members, cross subsidise large to small business Grant from ?? To help make this happen If companies providing employment to local council areas, local govt could be involved EHOs don’t have a good grasp – use as a conduit, internal recognition that this needs to happen Incorporate a work experience Uni student to do some helping of setting it up as a project

32. February 2006 Allergen Bureau What services would help SMEs manage allergens better? Reduce the cost of them attending food allergen workshops At workshops, have allergen organisations update on the problem Other sources of information where SMEs can find out about this? Trade associations, chambers of commerce, industry associations Pick them up through food recalls Simplify it – not the science – what is the bare minimum I need to do Build on what has been done in providing the training package on Bureau website, download Approach it from a regulatory perspective? How partner with them? How do small organisations access the information that the members of the bureau have? What fees put in place for access to SMEs EHOs out there have no ideas about allergens – out there all the time, Councils the same, esp when businesses setting up

33. February 2006 Allergen Bureau Marine Room Thai restaurant would score 0 – food service sector don’t know, hands over eyes and ears on subject, get message to them they need to be part of this process themselves People don’t understand because can’t quantify in clear terms what the problem is – no where to go to say this is the size of the problem, this is incidence, this is what we agreed on New Zealand – issues in supermarkets, as well as food service Maybe need colour poster to be stuck on the walls in these cetnres with the 8 allergens – have you info to give your customers on this? In UK FSA website poster for caterers – only emphasises 4 allergens Limited response, what else did you send out to raise awareness of this whole project, got an educational issue and awareness, big gap between smaller and larger companies – make them aware Need to integrate allergen into food safety plans, drive these down to suppliers, got to become part of integrated system Include allergens in basic hygiene training – then all through the whole system A lot of SMEs getting allergen information from us – we demand it and therefore have to learn about it – our people doing training for them. BE major source of info Food companies become interested because staff have allergen issues, this affects the awareness and attitudes – use these people

34. February 2006 Allergen Bureau Freshwater 2 Keep it quick and simple, haven’t got time to spend a whole day at a seminar Many use websites, good source of info, simple quick and poster Use consultants Information packs – like the clinical people spoke about – DVDs etc

35. February 2006 Allergen Bureau What options for continuation of this initiative? Free training courses – short courses Consistent interpretation Time commitment for SMEs big hurdle Buddy system between larger cos and smaller Larger companies put seminars on for the smaller companies Target small companies, go to them, road shows Allergy awareness week – last year theme targeted food service sector, produced marketing material – could build on that and/or partner with them in that Training – how fit? Evening event, a couple of hours, straight from work, smaller context, 20 of them to get benefits of networking as well EHOs and TAFEs keen to develop courses, take information, and also through the health departments

36. February 2006 Allergen Bureau The Food Safety Centre Allergen Resource Bureau First year review Amabel Fulton and Tim Tabart

37. February 2006 Allergen Bureau Outcomes Understand the ways in which the Allergen Bureau is delivering value to its members and other stakeholders Identify areas in which this service could be improved Contribute to a strategic plan through which the Bureau can sustainably provide value to its members

38. February 2006 Allergen Bureau Methods Phone survey of the current 24 member companies Web-based survey of 500 non-member organisations who have logged on to the Allergen Bureau web-site since its inception Questions: Usage of the Bureau and satisfaction level Potential new services

39. February 2006 Allergen Bureau Interim results Employees: Members Range = Employees: Members Range =

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41. February 2006 Allergen Bureau What is the Bureau doing well? providing information and resources website email and phone to members a networking and resource hub “a one-stop shop, our first point of call - previously was Google” relevant to Australia and New Zealand “Ability to discuss and consult with peers on a non-industry sensitive basis - takes industry competition out of the equation” ALSO - Coordinating the allergen forum working groupsALSO - Coordinating the allergen forum working groups

42. February 2006 Allergen Bureau What could be better? Communicate benefits to the general food manufacturing industry Promote its non-member services Charge less for membership from smaller companies More frequent newsletters Q&A about food allergens on the website Allow more open, two-way communication between Allergen Forum groups and companies outside those groups Q&A about food allergens on the website to provide assistance when consumers have questions Q&A about food allergens on the website to provide assistance when consumers have questions

43. February 2006 Allergen Bureau Non-Members

44. February 2006 Allergen Bureau Factors influencing decision to join

45. February 2006 Allergen Bureau How can the Allergen Bureau better service your needs? Some people don’t know what the allergen bureau does – better communicate what it is about to member staff Aim is to benefit supplier base – rather than us trying and solve their problem – want a resource for the small business – if I give them the phone number, what is on offer for them. If put into a one-pager. We have mail out to 1500-2000 suppliers in next 2 mo, could attach in an email Big companies may all do the same – take advantage of us to get the message out to our suppliers Bureau of benefit to people who are very involved – know what is on there, latest research, but if not very involved, not easy to find your way around – need a quick answer or overview harder to find

46. February 2006 Allergen Bureau How can the Allergen Bureau better service your needs? Continue addressing issues such as differences between threshold levels and the impact on people who are allergen sensitive Continue to build awareness of issues around allergens Is the media aware of the allergen bureau? Because media not well informed More clinicians as part of the team of the allergen bureau – people working with the allergic consumers, creating a collaborative approach Develop a standard that is required – like the GI symbol, licence it, good for marketing What happens if disbanded later on? Create a manufacturing pack, consistent across the industry, for controlling allergens Improve the website – logins were used to assess useage; non-members actually have similar access, but don’t know this Still need to provide member benefits – is providing access to non-members of value to members, or not? New stuff on front page all the time More general information – to recommend it to people who don’t have much time. If there are things like guidelines that could be referenced through the website as well Search function on allergen bureau website

47. February 2006 Allergen Bureau Your to-do list Complete the SME survey now All responses are confidential and only aggregated data will be provided to the Allergen Bureau Place your confidential responses in the collection box at the registration desk Complete the Allergen Bureau survey on the web

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