The world's biggest ever study of allergies - spearheaded by the University of Manchester - officially gets underway starting March 19th 2013. The € 9 million project builds on an earlier € 14.3 million research study and will involve the worlds leading experts in the UK, Europe, Australia and US. Together they mark the biggest study of food allergy in the world.
Up to 20 million European citizens suffer from food allergy. However management of both food allergy, by patients and health practitioners, and allergens, by industry, is thwarted by lack of evidence to either prevent food allergy developing or protect adequately those who are already allergic. European Commission-sponsored research, known as the Integrated Approaches to Food Allergen and Allergy Risk Management (iFAAM), will produce a standardised management process for companies involved in food manufacturing. It will also develop tools designed to enforce these regulations and produce evidence-based knowledge to inform new health advice on nutrition for pregnant women, babies and allergy sufferers.
The iFAAM consortium consists of 38 Partner Organisations, coordinated by Manchester University.
iFAAM, funded under the 7th Framework Programme will develop evidence-based approaches and tools for MANAGEMENT of ALLERGENS in FOOD and integrate knowledge derived from their application and new knowledge from intervention studies into FOOD ALLERGY MANAGEMENT plans and dietary advice. The resulting holistic strategies will reduce the burden of food allergies in Europe and beyond, whilst enabling the European food industry to compete in the global market place. Our approach will build on e-Health concepts to allow full exploitation of complex data obtained from the work in this project and previous and ongoing studies, maximising sharing and linkage of data, by developing an informatics platform “Allerg-e-lab”. This will enable us to
(1) Extend and integrate existing cohorts from observation and intervention studies to provide evidence as to how maternal diet and infant feeding practices (including weaning) modulate the patterns and prevalence of allergies across Europe
(2) Establish risk factors for the development of severe reactions to food and identify associated biomarkers
(3) Develop a clinically-validated tiered risk assessment and evidence-based risk management approach for food allergens for allergens in the food chain
(4) Develop clinically-relevant multi-analyte methods of analysis suited to allergen management across the food chain.
Stakeholders will be integrated into iFAAM to deliver harmonised integrated approaches, including RISK ASSESSORS AND MANAGERS managing population risk, the FOOD INDUSTRY who manages allergens to ensure consumer safety, HEALTH CARE PRACTITIONERS to provide food allergy management plans and dietary advice and ALLERGIC CONSUMERS to manage individual risk.
ICC contributes to the project as a 3rd Party, supporting the MoniQA Association. The MoniQA Association leads a WP (WP 9) on translating iFAAM developed tools and food allergen management approaches to practise.