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Allergen Bureau

LaBella Drinking Chocolate recalled for undeclared milk ingredient

Valcorp Fine Foods has recalled LaBella Cioccolata 1963 Drinking Chocolate from Myer, Harvey Norman and The Good Guys nationally due to an undeclared allergen (milk). Consumers who have a milk allergy or intolerance should not consume this product and may have a reaction if the product is consumed.

The product is LaBella Cioccolata 1963 Drinking Chocolate, packaged in 10x20g sachets in a 200g cardboard box. Its date markings are 21/02/2013, 22/02/2013 and 23/02/2013, and country of origin is Australia.

Due to a labelling error, milk has not been declared as an ingredient or in an allergen statement on the product label.

The product has been displayed and used in demonstrations at store level, in Harvey Norman, Myer, and The Good Guys, where coffee-making machines are located.

Consumers who have a milk allergy or intolerance should not consume the product and may have a reaction if the product is consumed.

Customers should return the product to the place of purchase for a full refund.


Consumer warning: sports supplements may contain toxic ingredient

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has just issued a warning about supplementary sports foods containing an ingredient known as DMAA.

FSANZ is working with state and territory government agencies and departments to investigate a range of products following complaints from consumers and some adverse health reports linked to products containing DMAA or 1,3-dimethylamylamine.

FSANZ Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Melanie Fisher, said the products were typically used as a pre-workout supplement.

“The New South Wales Food Authority has tested 12 of these products and 11 have tested positive for DMAA,” Ms Fisher said.

“DMAA has been linked in other countries with various adverse health effects including high blood pressure and vomiting and there have been a couple of adverse health reports in Australia,” Ms Fisher said.

“Regulatory agencies are working together to assess the products’ safety and are currently seeking the assistance of retailers, importers and distributors on a withdrawal of the products.”

The Federal Department of Health and Ageing is looking at whether DMAA should become a prohibited substance and has sought advice from the Advisory Committee on Medicines Scheduling, which is meeting later this month where this issue will be urgently discussed.

Products that have tested positive for DMAA are: Noxpump; 3-D explosion; Beta-Cret; PreSurge; 1 MR; Cyroshock,; Jack3D; Mesomorph; Neurocore; Oxyelite powder; and, Hemo Rage Black.

“Consumers that have purchased the sports food products listed above should not consume the product and should discard it,” Ms Fisher said.

If you have consumed these products and are concerned about your health please seek medical advice.


GS1 announces Global Product Recall Standard

GS1, the not-for-profit organisation that designs and manages the global barcode and logistics system for supply chain standards, last week announced the agreement of a new global product recall standard, along with an implementation guide for multi-jurisdictional recall notifications.

This new standard will provide a common-sense blueprint enabling all supply-chain stakeholders to implement more effective product recall processes and notifications. The standard defines and standardises the vital information to be shared among trading parties and regulators during a product recall alerting process.

The standard complements and extends the existing GS1 Traceability Standard that provides companies with a well-defined traceability process to meet regulatory requirements, building upon existing GS1 standards that are widely used in most supply chains around the world. It is incorporated into country-specific, GS1-standards based recall platforms, such as Rapid Recall Exchange in the U.S., Recallnet in Australia and the Product Recall programme in Canada.

As global food trade increases, food safety is becoming a critical public health issue. According to a 2010 report from the United States Centre for Disease Control (USCDC), there are 48 million cases of food borne illnesses each year in the US with 150,000 hospitalisations and 3,000 deaths.

Procter & Gamble’s Market Logistics Leader, Daniel Triot, said, “The GS1 Product Recall Standard will enable manufacturers, retailers and suppliers to work more closely together. By leveraging a system of global supply chain standards that we all know and use today, product recall will become a function that is embedded into all our global supply chains.”

Close to three years of industry-driven work has led to a standard, which identifies the key principles of traceability and demonstrates how to apply them for effective product recall. An implementation guide accompanies the recall standard and is dedicated to multi-jurisdictional requirements as a product recall alert is issued and executed.

As Australian Food News recently reported, GS1 is currently seeking more registrations for ProductRecallnz,  a New Zealand-specific recall platform.


Australian researchers team up to tackle egg allergy

A collaboration between Deakin University, CSIRO and the Poultry Co-operative Research Centre is working to produce chicken eggs in which the four major allergenic egg white proteins have been ‘switched off’. The hypoallergenic eggs will reportedly produce chickens which lay allergy-free eggs.

According to a Deakin University media release, the proteins in the egg were being modified using RNAi technology that has previously been used by CSIRO to modify important traits in crops. The genes or DNA of the chickens was not being altered in the process, so the products were not classed as ‘genetically modified’.

The research aims to produce eggs for use in food consumption and the production of common vaccines such as flu vaccines. It is expected to take three years to complete the work, and vaccines made using the eggs may be available within five years. Hypoallergenic eggs could be available in supermarkets for human consumption within five to 10 years.

A full media release relating to this research is available from the Deakin University News Room.


Food allergen proficiency tests

Testing using an ELISA kit is one of the most widely used methods for determining the presence of allergens in food. It is well known that allergen test kits from different manufacturers give significantly different results, sometimes up to a factor of 2, and proficiency testing results are given different assigned values according to the type of kit used.

One of the major drawbacks of this approach is that a number of participating labs must all submit results for the same test kits in order to generate assigned values and z scores. Participants who use uncommon or in-house kits will not receive a score due to there not being enough data to generate consensus assigned values. Where assigned values have a high degree of variability, the z scores issued may be used for information only, rather than performance evaluation.

In recent Food Analysis Performance Assessment Scheme (FAPAS) proficiency testing rounds, a second spiked sample was sent to participating laboratories, in addition to the usual spiked and unspiked samples. The aim was to establish whether the use of a standardised calibrant could be used to normalise the complete data set.

The ratio of the submitted results for the two spiked samples yielded complete data sets which could be tested for normality of the distribution and demonstrated that the principle of applying a standardisation works. Certified reference calibration for food allergens would greatly assist in the performance evaluation of allergen testing laboratories.


Tannins may decrease peanut allergenicity in foods

Removing major peanut allergens by forming insoluble complexes with tannic acid may one day be used in the development of low-allergen peanut products. Early results of research conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture indicate that tannic acid forms insoluble complexes with peanut proteins and that these complexes are able to pass through the gut without release. Release of the allergens in the gut due to varying acidic conditions could lead to absorption and consequently an allergic reaction.

In the research, tannic acid formed complexes with peanut proteins in a peanut butter extract. These were tested at pH 2 and pH 8, equivalent to the pH of the gut. Despite these acidic conditions, the complexes did not release any of the major allergenic proteins found in peanut. Other complexes tested such as gallic acid released the peanut proteins under these pH conditions, indicating they are not as effective at removing proteins from the digestive system.

The authors note that animal or clinical studies are still needed before this work can be applied as a potential solution to peanut allergy.


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