VMT symposium on allergens

Early February a one-day symposium was held on allergen cross contamination organized for Dutch food business operators by the Dutch VMT periodical on food technology.

An audience of 150 people from a broad range of industry, retail and service providers illustrates the importance that is attached to the issue.

The symposium gave a good overview of current views and company policies, with a stress on the use of the VITAL approach. Talks from producing industry, retail, consultancy, branches and analytics made a complete program.

The most prominent discussion and conclusion was the urgent need for acceptance and harmonization of “limits”, policy and enforcement, that will allow for clear labelling within the production chain and for the consumer, and which will create a clear and level playing field in the EU and beyond.

Highlights of the day were the first public announcement of harmonized reference amounts (VITAL language for amount of product per eating occasion) by the Dutch branch for bakery, confectionery and chocolate; the advancing use of the VITAL approach in a broad range of sectors and companies, but also the difficulties in clear communication and impact on cross contamination in the supply chain; the distinction in approach of packaged foods as opposed to in store handling/processing of foods (such as fresh bakery).