Grace Culhane

Nima at the Food Allergy Forum

This past week the second Food Allergy Forum was held in Amsterdam, with the intent to provide a unique platform to exchange information and experiences on the various aspects of food allergy, review current knowledge related to food allergy, and discuss strategies for prevention and control of food allergy ensuring food safety and protecting human health.  The forum was attended by hundreds of stakeholders in the “food chain”, including physicians and healthcare professionals, food researchers, policy makers and regulators, analytical device developers and key opinion leaders in the field.

 

The conference spanned a total of three days, and covered some very interesting topics, including:

  • Safe Food Matters: Focus On Allergens – What Is Safe?
  • What Makes A Protein Immunogenic/Allergenic?
  • Risk Assessment And Management Of Food Allergens
  • How The Use Of New Analytical Tools By Competent Authorities Will Impact Allergen Risk Management
  • Consumer Analytical Devices For Food Allergens
  • Food Allergy Control And Prevention – A Quantum Leap Forward
  • A Food Allergy-free World On The Horizon

Of course, Nima was a participant and a prominent topic of discussion in the Consumer Analytical Devices portion of the program.  Nima’s Chief Technical Officer, Francisco Dias Lourenco, provided an overview of the performance characteristics of the Nima Peanut test, and the rigorous testing and validation that went along with the development of the test. As part of the talk, the recent study on Quality of Life conducted by the Celiac Center at Columbia University was discussed. The study concluded that using Nima for three months can lead to significant improvement in Quality of Life and improved levels of depression in adults.  The full results were published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.  

 

The other speakers in the session included Gina Ross from the RIKILT Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands, and Dr Joseph Baumert from the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, who is also co-director of the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program (FARRP) at UNL whose mission is to develop and provide the food industry with credible information, expert opinions, tools, and services relating to allergenic foods.  Ms Ross discussed consumer analytical devices currently in various stages of research and development (including Nima), highlighting the pros and cons of user-friendliness, utility, performance and cost. Dr Baumert presentation reviewed in detail the peer-reviewed study the FAARP team conducted to evaluate the Nima Gluten sensor. The entirety of the manuscript can be found published in the Journal of Food Protection. Overall, the session provided a complete overview of consumer analytical devices, a field that Nima pioneered and is continuing to lead.  

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