Food innovation center explores allergen thresholds

March 18, 2005

PORTLAND - Establishing threshold levels of allergens in food provides benefits to both the food industry and to consumers with food allergies. These benefits, as well as the science and policy involved in establishing food allergen threshold levels, will be discussed at a workshop on Tuesday, March 29, from 10 a.m. to noon in Portland.

The workshop, the third in a four-part series exploring many aspects of the food allergen issue, will be held at the Food Innovation Center in Portland and online at http://fic.oregonstate.edu

The two-hour workshop and web cast will feature Steve Taylor, a food allergens expert from the University of Nebraska, and Nick Hether, director of Product Safety and Regulatory Sciences for Gerber Products Company.

Establishing food allergen thresholds could reduce the need for allergen precautionary labeling on food products by helping to define what trace level of allergenic proteins actually constitute a public health risk. The intended result is to develop more meaningful labels on food products and increased food choices for consumers with food allergies. Additionally, science-based allergen thresholds will provide the food industry a measure of "how clean is clean?" and help standardize practices for cleaning equipment by focusing on those allergen levels that pose a real threat to the food-allergic consumer.

The Food Innovation Center, a collaborative program of Oregon State University and the Oregon Department of Agriculture, is located in Portland at 1207 N.W. Naito Parkway. Free parking is available.

The workshop program and web cast are free events, sponsored by the Food Innovation Center, OSU Food Science Extension program, Northwest Food Processors Association, Gerber Products Company and the Oregon Chapter of the Institute of Food Technologists.

An archived version of the workshop will be placed on the Food Innovation Center website and made available for extended use and viewing.

For more information about the workshop, contact Yanyun Zhao at OSU Extension, 541-737-9151, or Connie Kirby at Northwest Food Processors Association, 503-327-2200.

Author: Peg Herring
Source: Yanyun Zhao