The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Foundation is awarding the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program (FARRP) at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln’s Food Science and Technology Department a $20,000 grant to determine root-cause labeling errors and advise on best practices for manufacturers, suppliers and retailers to reduce the incidence of undeclared allergen recalls.
The research – led by Steve Taylor, professor and co-director of the program; Joe Baumert, , associate professor and co-director of the program; and Jamie Kabourek – will evaluate and classify the latest two years of Food and Drug Administration and Department of Agriculture allergen recalls, in accordance with explanations given by the manufacturer and reported by the regulatory agencies.
“Undeclared allergens are the leading cause of U.S. food recalls,” noted Susan Borra, executive director of the FMI Foundation and chief wellness officer for Arlington, Va.-based FMI. “The FDA has stated that Reportable Food Registry reports of undeclared food allergens increased from 30 percent to 47 percent during the five-year period from 2009-2013. The FMI Foundation is proud to support research which aims to improve public health efforts nationwide.”
“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,” said Taylor. “FARRP will use its global network to survey the best practices used by food manufacturers on an international scale.”
At the close of the project, preliminary results will be presented at the annual Safe Quality Food International Conference in Dallas in November. Also, a white paper will be prepared the FMI Foundation, and the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program will submit a paper to a peer-reviewed publication.