Food Business News - July 19, 2011 - (Page 30)

Children’s Nutrition Questions arise about children and food allergies F ood allergies are considered a significant public health issue and precautionary labels on food and beverage products are mandated to protect consumers. A large proportion of childhood food allergies are outgrown, but there is no cure and avoidance is the only option for parents trying to help their children manage a food allergy. That’s why clear and accurate labels on food products are considered to be so important. But a question is being asked: Are allergy-warning labels always necessary? Professionals in the food industry say a growing is in its infancy, but IFIC and others in the food industry are broaching the subject now in an effort to educate stakeholders about thresholds and labeling. Ms. Smith-Edge said the food industry must have a dialogue with all stakeholders that are involved — pediatricians, allergists, and registered dietitians to name a few. “If there’s a comfort level with those that are trying to help them manage their food allergies, then there’s amount of an allergen that will trigger a reaction. Actually, it’s not always easy to accurately diagnose food allergies, doctors say. A wrong diagnosis may mean a lifetime of limited food choices, a trip to the emergency room or worse. Therefore, diagnosing and managing a food allergy is of particular concern for parents. An estimated 7.5 million people have at least one food allergy, according to findings from a large food allergy study with blood levels high enough to suggest clinical disease were classified as food allergic. But even using blood tests presents challenges in diagnosing a food allergy. “The problem with looking at the blood is that there’s a possibility that it will overestimate food allergy, because there are lots of people who have positive tests that are not truly allergic to that food,” said Robert Wood, chief of pediatric allergy and immunology at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and a principal investigator in the Johns Hopkins-N.I.H. study. “So, even if they test positive, they’re fine eating that food.” Dr. Wood said researchers tried to use cutoffs where at least 90% if not 95% of people who had a blood test score above a certain level were truly allergic. However, the test did not predict how much of the food would cause a reaction, he said. Any guidelines for food labeling should protect the food allergic public, Dr. Wood said. “My position as a physician taking care of highly allergic patients, those more allergic patients do need to be protected,” he said. “That’s sort of the big debate, whether the threshold you determine should protect 99% or 99.9% or 99.99%, and for that person, the one-in-a-thousand who’s going to react, then having a guideline that doesn’t protect them is wrong.” Another study found that 8%, or one of 13, children in the United States suffer from a food allergy. The Food Allergy Initiative funded the study and it was published in the July issue of Pediatrics. The study Will parents buy into threshold limits for food labels? body of research shows many food products flagged as an allergy risk may contain only miniscule amounts of allergens that may not trigger a reaction in people with food allergies. They say establishing a threshold for labeling would limit confusion and improve the quality of life for allergy-sufferers. “It’s still relatively new, it’s still in the research area,” said Marianne Smith-Edge, senior vice-president of nutrition and food safety for the International Food Information Council. “The studies are showing positively that they would be able to establish a threshold where there would be a negligible risk or reasonable certainty of no harm to the food allergic person.” The concept of thresholds acceptance in that regard,” she said. “All along the way, it has to be about education, being very transparent and getting people to understand what does (threshold) mean. Whether or not it will be accepted is really through the eyes of each individual parent because it’s going to be depending on the severity of the allergen.” She said having a discussion about thresholds would provide more scientific knowledge and perhaps make precautionary labels on food more meaningful. But medical professionals caution that no two people are alike when it comes to the conducted by Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, the National Institutes of Health and other institutions. The study also found that allergies were most common in children 5 years old or younger, with 4.2% testing highly positive for one food allergy, followed by children ages 6-19 at 3.8%. Children under age 5 were more than twice as likely as those older than 20 to have a food allergy. African-American boys were more than four times as likely as white women over 20 to have a food allergy. The study used blood levels of antibodies as an indicator of actual disease. Only people 30 FOODBUSINESS NEWS ® July 19, 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Food Business News - July 19, 2011

Food Business News - July 19, 2011
U.S. rice production situation changes dramatically
Marketing standards for children’s products proposed
Campbell to invest less in sodium reduction
Editorial - Data transparency hugely important for markets
Dannon to invest $88 million in Ohio yogurt plant
Pfi zer may sell Nutrition business
Nestle Health Science acquires stake in Vital Foods
Hispanic consumers seek authentic menu options
Kraft names Timothy Cofer to European leadership
Gary Lane named c.e.o. of Ottens Flavors
Nestle to buy 60% interest in Chinese confectioner
Sun Capital acquires Contessa Premium Foods
Reser’s Fine Foods to acquire Vaughan Foods
Campbell to invest less in sodium reduction
Hamburger consumption on the rise
Dunkin’ looks to raise $461 million through i.p.o.
Buckhead Beef to build new facility
Global industrial processing of grains in slower growth
Higher adult obesity rates recorded in 16 states
More than 2,000 organizations in support of MyPlate
U.S. rice production situation changes dramatically
Washington - Agreement ends cross-border trucking dispute
Sodium Reduction - Conflicting views on sodium and mortality
Potassium chloride comes with taste issues
Children’s Nutrition - Questions arise about children and food allergies
DAIRY BUSINESS NEWS - Dairy ingredient innovations
DAIRY BUSINESS NEWS - Fonterra names chief executive officer
Dairy Business News - New OptiSol ingredient works with frozen yogurt
Dairy Business News - New Danisco system targets artisan ice cream
Dairy Business News - Regional ice cream maker ceases production
Dairy Business News - Dairy organizations team to form consortium
Dairy Business News - Harris sees consumers continue to focus on value, spending cuts
Dairy Business News - General Mills completes Yoplait acquisition
Dairy Business News - Shadow Beverages acquires Whey-Up brand
Dairy Business News - Dean Foods settles lawsuit for $140 million
Dairy Business News - Sargento Foods expands R.&D. staffi ng
New Product Trends - Beyond meat protein
New Food Products - Zatarain’s introduces frozen meals
New Food Products - Bear Naked launches Nut Cluster Crunch cereal
New Food Products - Kraft adds caulifl ower to new mac and cheese item
New Food Products - AdvancePierre Foods adds Graham Snackers
New Food Products - WhiteWave foods expands product line
New Food Products - Mott’s enters vegetable juice category
New Food Products - Orgain introduces shakes for children
New Food Products - Field Roast launches vegetarian frankfurter
INGREDIENT MARKET TRENDS - Spring wheat crop forecast 11% lower than 2010
Ingredient Markets
Supplier Innovations and News - Caravan launches base for single-serve items
Supplier Innovations and News - B vitamin supplier changes name to Prinova
Supplier Innovations and News -Testing method screens for Salmonella
Supplier Innovations and News - Cargill commits to 2015 sustainable palm oil goal
Supplier Innovations and News - European Commission approves stevia’s use in some foods
Supplier Innovations and News - Kemin hires technical sales manager
Supplier Innovations and News - Bell expands by buying facility
Ad Index
Food Business in the News

Food Business News - July 19, 2011