HomeAdvocacy and research – June 2018

Advocacy and research – June 2018

June 1, 2018

Make sure your voice is heard! Participate in an important study that’s looking at the costs involved in living with food allergy. Find out about our recent advocacy efforts, and be sure to check out our mythbuster which asks the question, “Are “may contain” allergen labels mandatory in Canada?”.

Plus, learn about the latest in food allergy research: find out how immune cells may be used to treat food allergy, learn about the results of a peanut oral immunotherapy clinical trial, and read about a new European study that shows significant psychosocial burden associated with peanut allergy.

Call for participants: A study on the costs of living with a food allergy

If you are an adult or parent/caregiver of a child with food allergy, you are invited to participate in a study looking at the costs involved in living with a food allergy.

The results of this study will help inform organizations like ours on the economic impact of living with this medical condition. This allows us to advocate on your behalf to make positive changes within government and industry. Your participation is crucial to providing the researchers with meaningful results. Please take a moment to complete the survey.

Participate today!

Advocating for clarity around “may contain” labelling

Beatrice Povolo

Beatrice Povolo, our Director of Advocacy, presented “Allergen labelling – the consumer perspective” at the International Food Allergen Methodologies Workshop last month.

Hosted by Health Canada and the University of Nebraska’s Food Allergy Research and Resource Program, this conference gathered food allergy scientists, researchers, and other global key stakeholders in the food industry to discuss issues related to the detection, identification, characterization, and control of allergen residues in foods.

Beatrice’s presentation spoke about the importance of clear food allergen labelling, with a focus on greater clarity around the use of precautionary statements (e.g. “may contain”) – this not only benefits the food allergy community but all Canadians.

Mythbuster: Are “may contain” allergen labels mandatory in Canada?

Is it true that if there is a chance of cross-contamination of an allergen in a pre-packaged food, companies must label the product with a “may contain” warning?

Not currently. Allergen precautionary statements such as a “may contain” (or similar) statement on food labels are used by manufacturers and importers on a voluntary basis to alert consumers to the possible inadvertent presence of an allergen not intended to be in the product. Cross-contamination can occur during food processing and packaging in a facility that uses shared equipment, or through handling, for example.

Consumers are encouraged to call manufacturers directly to inquire about allergen labelling practices. While importers are required by law to follow Canadian labelling rules, there have been instances of product recalls due to undeclared allergens in foods. We recommend that consumers with food allergies be cautious of imported products because food labelling regulations vary by country. Help us educate your communities and share this mythbuster with them! Stay tuned for more mythbusters to come.

For more information about “may contain” statements, please visit our food labelling information page

Research: Tweaking immune cells to tackle food allergy

Dendritic cells
Image courtesy of AllerGen

Interesting research from AllerGen provides insight into a unique immunotherapy which investigators believe may hold promise for treating food allergy and other immune system disorders. This therapy “uses a type of immune cell called a dendritic cell to reduce the immune response responsible for an allergic reaction.” So far, this research has only been conducted in mice, and a treatment for people with food allergies is likely years away.

AllerGen is a national research network dedicated to improving the quality of life of people with allergic and related immune diseases. Read more.

Peanut oral immunotherapy clinical trial results show effectiveness

Image courtesy of Aimmune

Aimmune Therapeutics recently released results from their Phase 3 PALISADE clinical trial for AR101, which is their lead investigational oral immunotherapy drug for peanut allergy.

PALISADE enrolled more than 550 participants ages 4-55 in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. This clinical trial is designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of AR101 to treat peanut allergy.

The Phase 3 of their PALISADE clinical trials show that the therapy is effective for ages 4-55.

Read more.

New study shows significant psychosocial burden associated with peanut allergy

Learn more about this new European study, led by Aimmune Therapeutics in partnership with European food allergy patient advocacy groups, and health care professionals. The survey results show “that peanut allergy has a daily impact on more than 80% of those children, parents/caregivers and adults, and 40% live with a high level of uncertainty. Additionally, 77% of peanut-allergic individuals have been made to feel different (negatively), and 43% have been affected by bullying.”

The survey also “revealed the increased level of anxiety people affected by peanut allergy experience in situations involving food.”

Read the full press release.

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