Recently, the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT) hosted their 2021 virtual Global Food Industry & Research Summit. National Peanut Board (NPB) is proud to have been a sponsor for this event over the last several years as part of its broad effort to be part of the solutions for individuals with food allergy.
The event brings together key stakeholders focused on food allergy research and management at the manufacturer and brand level, as well as from regulatory agencies and pharmacologic industry. Presentations are given from top minds on a variety of key topics, including from the FDA, USDA, and popular large brands like Hershey’s and Conagra.
The sessions provide insight into what’s happening in food allergies now, hot topics, and the latest research and gives a look ahead toward anticipated discoveries. Some of the most interesting and debated topics included a discussion about precautionary allergen labeling. This topic came up in the presentations by Kevin Boyd of The Hershey Company and Scott Hegenbart of Conagra Brands who both presented manufacturer perspectives on product packaging and allergen management, and Caroline Moassessi as she discussed the consumer’s perspective. Precautionary allergen labeling information is most often seen as “may contain” or “produced in a shared facility” statements.
While the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) requires that any allergenic ingredient, such as peanuts, intentionally used as part of a food’s recipe be disclosed, the law doesn’t require manufacturers to state that such an ingredient is simply processed in the same facility or on shared lines.
Although some manufacturers do include this information, the language they use is not standardized, which leads to a great deal of confusion.
One topic that is not contentious is the issue of introducing peanut foods early to help prevent peanut allergies. Sherry Coleman Collins, MS, RDN, LD, registered dietitian shared NPB’s exciting sponsorship of a new PediaLink training created by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The module is a free opportunity for physicians and other health care professionals to earn continuing education credits for free as they learn the latest about preventing food allergies through early introduction of peanut foods to infants. In addition, she shared NPB’s efforts to reach other health care professionals by working with American Academy of Family Physicians and to help consumers understand the benefits of early introduction by working with social media influencers.
According to Eleanor Garrow-Holding, President and CEO of FAACT, “The National Peanut Board’s sponsorship is important to the work FAACT does on behalf of people living with food allergies. This partnership helps fund our education and advocacy efforts around managing food allergies and preventing allergic reactions. We look forward to continuing this collaboration as we partner on projects to improve quality of life for people living with food allergies and their families.”
Ryan Lepicier, CMO and SVP, spoke during the sponsor section to extend NPB’s commitment to being part of the solution for peanut allergy sufferers, including allocating more than $35 million to the cause since 2001. He shared the exciting and innovating work that NPB is doing on behalf of peanut farmers to promote USA-grown peanuts.
NPB’s efforts to champion peanut allergy prevention and support of conferences like this prove that there are important shared goals and common interests that create a bridge between the peanut industry and the food allergy community.