The first validated Reference Materials for Food Allergen Analysis are now available and can be ordered from MoniQA Association. The first set of materials includes testing materials for milk allergen analysis comprising a Positive Control (SMP-MQA 092014, characterized dried skim milk powder, validated protein content), Negative Control (BLANK-MQA 082015, based on a gluten free cookie), and 2 Incurred Materials: LOW-MQA 102016 (SMP incurred in gluten free cookies, milled, concentration approx. 3.5 ppm milk protein, validated) and HIGH-MQA 082016 (SMP incurred in gluten free cookies, milled, concentration approx. 35 ppm milk protein, validated).
The materials were produced by Trilogy Laboratories USA (MoniQA Member since 2013) and have been commercially available starting 01 January 2017 through MoniQA Association. All materials come with a data sheet and a reference certificate to the analytical results, a measurement uncertainty and validation information. Distribution and shipment of the materials is subcontracted to Authorized Distributors among the MoniQA Member Institutions.
How to order – distribution and shipments:
Order the materials by using the online order form and return the completed, signed/stamped form to moniqa [at] moniqa [dot] org. The materials come in 5 g pouches (air tight sealed) and sold for 220.- Euro per pouch or 792.- € for the set of all 4 materials. The Reference Materials for Food Allergen Analysis can be ordered from MoniQA Association. MoniQA Members may also qualify as Authorized Distributor of these reference materials and receive a distributor/re-seller discount (170.- € per pouch or 612.- € for the set of all 4 materials). If your company/organization is interested to become an authorized distributor, please contact roland [dot] poms [at] moniqa [dot] org. Draft sales agreement templates have been drafted and are currently reviewed. Further reference materials are in preparation (gluten, egg, soy) and will become available shortly.
The initiative – who is behind the project:
The design and production of these materials was in response to the urgent need for reference materials expressed by the food industry and food analytical laboratories, as well as providers of food allergen test kits and other methodologies, and national authorities. An international initiative (since 2013) led by MoniQA Association discussed and agreed upon the requirements for food allergen reference materials. For this purpose MoniQA has liaised with the EU funded project iFAAM, the Prolamin Working Group, Health Canada, FARRP, Australia’s Allergen Bureau (Vital), and others. The initial group of 15 experts from the global analytical community grew over time to a group of some 50 institutions contributing to the design of the materials and giving scientific and technological input during the testing and production phase of the materials.
Why food allergen reference materials?
Effective food allergen risk assessment and food allergen management are important to protect allergic consumers and to comply with allergen labelling regulations. Such approaches require reliable analytical tools for the detection of allergens in food. Due to the nature of the analytes and their susceptibility to various processing effects, reliability and comparability of results have posed a great challenge. Both reference methods and reference materials are urgently needed to assure the quality, reliability and comparability of analytical results obtained with different methods. Being an important component of this analytical quality assurance, reference materials contribute to reliable and accurate results. Ensuring the correctness of analytical results is crucial to laboratories, since incorrect results may trigger decisions that can cause economic damage or pose a risk to public health.
The use of reference materials:
Validated reference materials/quality control materials and certified reference materials are indispensable for
The quality of reference materials
is critical for accuracy and comparability of analysis results. Reference materials must be sufficiently homogenous, stable and traceable. Usually extensive material characterisation and testing for homogeneity and stability of the material precede the availability of reference materials. Ideally a certified reference material (CRM) shall be used, which has been validated by accredited institutions and is subject to strict quality testing. Certified reference materials usually come with a certificate with information on the methods used for validation/assigning a value, the measurement uncertainty and traceability of the numerical value of the analyte’s concentration in the material or the analyte’s purity. According to ISO/IEC 17025, accredited laboratories are required to use certified reference material. At this point the currently available knowledge base and methodological abilities do not allow to certify food allergen reference materials according to international standards requirements, however, for the currently available internationally validated materials the international task force led by MoniQA Association is discussing appropriate procedures for the certification of the offered food allergen reference materials according to ISO Standards.
Roland Poms from MoniQA Association will lecture on "Reference Materials and Method Validation in Food Safety Assurance" at BOKU - University of Life Sciences and Natural Resources, Vienna, Austria, http://www.boku.ac.at/en/, on selected days and times between 28 February and 8 March 2017. The lecture especially targets Master and PhD students in the areas of food safety, food analysis, reference materials and measurements, and quality control. The course is also very useful as part of CPD (continued professional training), for QC personnel in food industry and auditors. Apart from enrolled MSc and PhD students, MoniQA members have access to a maximum of 10 places - if interested, please register by email at moniqa [at] moniqa [dot] org.
The aim of the workshop on "Reference materials and method validation in food safety assurance" is to describe the issues and challenges involved in the international comparability and validity of analytical results in the assurance of food safety and quality. On the basis of practical examples the focus will be on current hot topics, such as mycotoxins, food allergens, authenticity testing, pathogenic micro-organisms, GMOs, etc., the analytical possibilities (including rapid methods), and the corresponding EU regulations. Additionally, an overview of international standardization bodies and examples of international validation studies will be given.
The course is offered in the framework of the international Master programme “Safety in the Food Chain (SIFC)”, http://www.safetyinthefoodchain.com/, which includes 5 participating universities across Europe. This international Master programm was developed to provide a profound academic MSc programme concerning all areas of food safety. It offers a high level study course by combining all the existing expertise of European universities. The contents of the curriculum are focused on the whole spectrum of the food chain (regarding supply and production).
The course is offered in English and usually attracts a very international audience from various continents.
Lehrsaal 3 (MGFH-EG/LS 3)
Dates and times:
BOKU students register via BOKUonline, all others register directly at moniqa [at] moniqa [dot] org.
Some 35 participants were involved in a workshop on "Introduction to food allergen management" that was held on 7 February 2017 in Rome, Italy. This workshop was organised by Hylobates (Member of MoniQA since 2016) within the framework of the EU-funded Project iFAAM (Integrated Approaches to Food Allergen and Allergy Risk Management). The workshop provided an introduction on food allergen management and included two parts: a theoretical part with presentations and discussions given by Luca Bucchini and Roland Poms, and a practical part with hands-on training given by Dario Deli & Serena Leardini from Romer Labs, and Francesco Fieramosca & Valeria Bassani from Tecna.
The following topics were included in this workshop:
• iFAAM - FP7 EU-funded project activities
• Food allergen management across the supply chain
• Role of testing in food allergen management and an introduction to different types of testing
• Practical hands-on sessions using common rapid methods in allergen testing for monitoring cleaning
Due to the high interest of the participants a follow-up workshop is planned in Italy sometime in June. Stay posted!
A more comprehensive report on the workshop is available here.
Close to 100 participants followed an exciting scientific and at the same time very practical and informative symposium #MoniqaBari on food fraud prevention and effective food allergen management in Bari, Italy, 26-27 January 2017, bari2017.moniqa.org. Due to the extremely positive feedback, we are considering to take the program on the road.
Two topics that rarely share one event, but indeed food authenticity and food allergen management have a lot in common: both require appropriate labelling of foods, both are not always apparent to the consumer, both concern consumer trust, both need to be managed by the food industry, both may have strong impacts on the health and socio-economics of a society, both need adequate communication, both use comprehensive databases, both need sophisticated analytical methods, both require a collaborative effort from science, industry and the regulatory environment. The symposium brought together participants from the food industry, ingredient suppliers, agricultural producers, retail and trade, consumer organizations, private and public analytical laboratories, representatives from R&D, marketing, quality control, legal departments, as well as food scientists, technologists, analytical method providers, regulatory bodies, authorities and the media. You may want to read the full report by Michael Walker, LGC, UK at http://www.moniqa.org/webfm_send/261.
The conference chairs, Roland Poms from MoniQA Association (Austria) and Linda Monaci from ISPA-CNR (Italy) would like to thank all speakers, poster presenters, exhibitors and sponsors for their support in making this event a great success!
Thanks to #ThermoFisher, #R-Biopharm, #Agilent Technologies, #LabInstruments, #USP, #Alfatest, #Waters, #Eurofins, and #ELISASystems
The first validated Reference Materials for Food Allergen Analysis have been presented at the latest AOAC Annual Meeting 2016 in Dallas, Texas, USA. The first set of materials includes testing materials for milk allergen analysis comprising a Positive Control (SMP-MQA 092014, characterized dried skim milk powder), Negative Control (BLANK-MQA 082015, based on a gluten free cookie), and 2 Incurred Materials: LOW-MQA 102016 (SMP incurred in gluten free cookies, milled, concentration approx. 5 ppm) and HIGH-MQA 082016 (SMP incurred in gluten free cookies, milled, concentration approx. 50 ppm).
The materials were produced by Trilogy Laboratories USA (MoniQA Member since 2013) and will be commercially available starting 01 January 2017 through MoniQA Association. Shipments will be coordinated by R-Biopharm Germany (MoniQA Member since 2011). The materials will come in 5 g pouches (air tight sealed) and sold for 220.- Euro per pouch or 792.- € for the set of all 4 materials. MoniQA Members may also qualify as Authorized Distributor of these reference materials and receive a distributor/re-seller discount (170.- € per pouch or 612.- € for the set of all 4 materials).
If your company/organization is interested to become an authorized distributor, please contact roland [dot] poms [at] moniqa [dot] org. Further reference materials are in preparation (gluten, egg, soy) and will become available shortly.
The production of these materials was in response to the urgent need for reference materials expressed by the food industry and food analytical laboratories, as well as providers of food allergen test kits and other methodologies. An international initiative (since 2013) led by MoniQA Association discussed and agreed upon the requirements for food allergen reference materials. For this purpose MoniQA has liaised with the EU funded project iFAAM, the Prolamin Working Group, Health Canada, FARRP, Australia’s Allergen Bureau (Vital), and others.
The initial group of 15 experts from the global analytical community grew over time to a group of some 50 institutions contributing to the design of the materials and giving scientific and technological input during the testing and production phase of the materials.
The next meeting of MoniQA’s Task Force on Food Allergen Reference Material is scheduled ahead of the two-day-symposium on Food Fraud Prevention and Effective Food Allergen Management in Bari, Italy and is scheduled for the afternoon of 25 January 2017.
On 13 September 2016 MoniQA as part of two different international consortia – one led by the University of Bologna, Italy, and the other by Hellenic Institute of Transport, Greece - submitted 2 project proposals under the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme. In both proposals MoniQA acts as Workpackage Leader. The following proposals successfully passed stage 1 and were submitted for stage 2 evaluation:
We are pleased to continue our success in expanding our involvement in EU projects. Involvement in collaborative research projects will increase the knowledge base, the international network of experts in the field of food safety and quality, and strengthen MoniQA’s offerings and services for its members and beyond.
Roland Poms participated at the 7th iFAAM Consortium Meeting in Rome, Italy, 17+18 October 2016. iFAAM (Integrated Approaches to Food Allergen and Allergy Risk Management; 2013-2017) is the world's biggest ever study of allergies - coordinated by Clare Mills from the University of Manchester and funded by the European Commission’s Framework Programme 7. This time several workshops preceded the consortium meeting and these were linked to the EAACI meeting (The European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology).
The MoniQA Association is partner in iFAAM and works in Workpackage 9, led by Paul Finglas (Vice President in MoniQA and Director of EuroFIR AISBL). MoniQA’s current activities focus on the development of online tools for food manufacturers and policy makers to support an improved food allergen management. An iFAAM toolbox shall be offered on the MoniQA website shortly Main focus of MoniQA’s participation at the 7th consortium meeting was the sustainability of iFAAM’s outputs and tools, which shall be hosted at one of MoniQA’s sub-sites.
Dr. Walter Mayrhofer from the FTI Burgenland (Research-Technology-Innovation Agency) opened the kick-off event on behalf of MoniQA’s new offices in Neutal, Austria (some 50 minutes’ drive South of Vienna Airport) with an appreciation of MoniQA’s initiatives in supporting the food industry and authorities to guarantee a high degree of food safety and quality, and by bringing new international expertise to Burgenland.
Representing the regional government of Burgenland, the most Eastern state of Austria, Mrs. Verena Dunst, officially welcomed MoniQA Association and emphasized the importance of international networks for Burgenland’s regional research and innovation activities, and a sustainable economic growth of Burgenland’s strong agricultural and food production sectors.
Dr. Roland Poms, Secretary General of MoniQA Association described the tools and vast information source that MoniQA offers and gave a glimpse into future research projects that MoniQA has submitted (together with various international consortia) within the frame of the European Commission’s Horizon2020 Programme.
Membership in MoniQA Association is open to all institutions interested in food safety and quality related issues. MoniQA – the International Association for Monitoring and Quality Assurance in the Total Food Supply Chain is an international and interdisciplinary network of professionals from institutions working in food research, regulatory bodies and trade, providing solutions to promote a safer and secure food supply worldwide.
MoniQA facilitates international research collaborations to enable services and products for food safety & quality assurance, progress and validation of analytical methods, training and continuous professional development, consultancy and socio-economic impact assessment.
Sign up for Membership in MoniQA today and start benefiting from the association’s international network and a variety of activities and services: www.moniqa.org/about/association.
With its strong focus on the development and application of new analytical tools and their potential for quality assessment, assurance, control and safety of foods and feeds, QAS - International Journal for Quality Assurance and Safety of Crops & Foods provides an ideal platform for original research papers, reviews, reports, regulatory updates and short communications in the areas of food safety, food security and sustainability. QAS was jointly established between MoniQA Association www.moniqa.org and ICC - International Association for Cereal Science and Technology www.icc.or.at. Members of both associations enjoy a free online subscription of this international peer-reviewed journal.
To submit a paper: http://www.wageningenacademic.com/journals/qas/submitting-a-paper
To become MoniQA Member (annual membership fee applies) and enjoy a free subscription:
Bari, Italy, 26+27 January 2017
Co-organised by MoniQA Association and CNR-ISPA
MoniQA Association is organizing a two-day-symposium on Food Fraud Prevention and Effective Food Allergen Management targeted toward the food industry/food manufacturers, food production auditors and representatives from the regulatory environment. This workshop will be especially suitable for SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises) and fulfilling CPD (Continuous Professional Development) requirements. The workshop will give practical, scientific and legal background information, insight in innovative approaches, newly developed tools and recently introduced analytical methods to combat food fraud and improve food allergen management. These new developments will be linked to real case studies and learnings from recent incidents. Learnings from stakeholder viewpoints, such as food manufacturers, food laboratories, food analytical methods providers, auditors, risk assessors, lawyers, trainers/teachers, media and communicators, regulatory bodies and policy makers shall complement the scientific programme and stimulate open discussion.
The symposium will be co-organised with CNR-ISPA (a MoniQA Founder Member, since 2007) in Bari, Italy, http://www.ispacnr.it/en/bari-territorial-unit/ Renown speakers and representatives from various stakeholder groups will share their experiences with meeting new challenges. The symposium will tackle various burning questions such as:
Food Authenticity and Fraud Prevention:
Food Allergens and Effective Management Tools:
We warmly invite you to attend this meeting, which brings together international experts in the fields of food authenticity and food allergens, as well as various food industries, SMEs, research institutions, associations and regulatory bodies, all having a different stake in food safety. This special mix of scientific and practical input to the symposium will be a valuable opportunity to grow your knowledge base, learn from practical experiences, and exchange ideas with peers.
Escape from the cold Northern winter and join us in Bari in Southern Italy. We hope to see you there!
Dr. Roland Poms
MoniQA, Austria - Secretary General
Dr. Richard Cantrill
AOCS, USA – MoniQA President
Dr. Antonio Logrieco
ISPA-CNR, Italy –Director
Dr. Linda Monaci
ISPA-CNR, Italy – Senior Researcher and Conference Host
For more information, please visit the dedicated symposium website: http://bari2017.moniqa.org
iFAAM, as an EU funded research project (2013-2017) aims at providing various tools and guidelines for an improved allergen and allergy management. In order to understand industry, retail, and supplier attitudes to the use of reference doses to determine risk thresholds for precautionary (allergen) labelling, we would like to assess food industry’s use of, and attitudes to strategies such as the Voluntary Incidental Trace Allergen Labelling (VITAL) which contains the "may be present" statement, and possible alternatives. MoniQA would like to invite you to take part in a survey, which is hosted by our partner organization EuroFIR AISBL. Responses in the survey are anonymous. Any information they provide will be treated with strict confidence.
We would be very grateful if you would consider circulating the questionnaire amongst relevant clients and/or partners of yours:
We are hopeful that outcomes of this research will enable those involved in the development of reference doses and precautionary labelling (i.e. manufacturers and food scientists) to identify critical barriers to acceptance by industry, so that these may be addressed, and the most effective methods used to encourage consumer understanding, acceptability and uptake.
The next meeting of MoniQA’s Task Force on Food Allergen Reference Material is scheduled ahead of the IAFP Annual Meeting in St. Louis, MO, USA, and will be hosted again by Trilogy Analytical Laboratories (MoniQA Member since 2012) in Washington, MO, USA, on 31 July 2016. Interested parties are advised to contact moniqa [at] moniqa [dot] org. Roland Poms will also give a presentation on the available food allergen reference materials at the IAFP Annual Conference that follows the Task Force Meeting.
MoniQA participated in three different calls for proposals with deadline February 2016 in the frame of the European Commission’s Horizon2020 Programme. Two of these submissions were evaluated positively by the EC and these two successful consortia were invited to submit a full proposal at stage two with a deadline in September 2016. Interested members of MoniQA Association may still get involved in these proposals as Third Party to MoniQA, if needed expertise can be filled by your organisation. If you are interested to get involved in MoniQA and/or any of the calls for research proposals below, please contact moniqa [at] moniqa [dot] org.
1) SFS-37-2016: The impact of consumer practices in food safety: risks and mitigation strategies, successful through stage 1. MoniQA is Workpackage Leader, a full proposal will be submitted by 13 September 2016.
2) SFS-33-2016: Understanding food value chain and network dynamics, successful through stage 1. MoniQA is Task Leader, a full proposal will be submitted by 13 September 2016.
3) INFRAIA-02-2017: Integrating Activities for Starting Communities, submitted for stage 1 evaluation on 30 March 2016, MoniQA is partner, evaluation for stage 1 shall be completed by September 2016
4) SFS-46-2017: Alternative production system to address anti-microbial drug usage, animal welfare and the impact on health, proposal in preparation, MoniQA is Workpackage Leader, submission is foreseen by 14 February 2017
More details on the calls can be found on the official website of Horizon2020 of the European Commission https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/. MoniQA members may also access the call descriptions to the above titles here. (login required)
The aims of this workshop is to explore the requirements for a health claim on products including the human dietary studies likely to be necessary to generate the evidence required for positive opinion from EFSA.
The programme, speakers and registration can be found at http://bacchus-fp7.eu/best-practice-in-health-claims-bacchus-workshop
On 26 February 2016 the recently approved MoniQA Supervisory Board 2016 met in Neutal, Austria, to discuss the short and long term strategies and planned activities within the MoniQA Association. We thank the elected officials for their support and leadership in MoniQA:
Supervisory Board (SB) Members:
Richard Cantrill, USA ((2015-2017, President)
Paul Finglas, UK (2014-2016, Vice President)
Wolfgang Kneifel, Austria (2014-2016)
Marina Carcea, Italy (2015-2017)
Linda Monaci, Italy (2016-2018)
The following members were invited as Coopted Members 2016:
Bert Popping, France
Thomas Gude, Switzerland
Gerhard Schleining, Austria (2015-2016)
Marco Gobbetti, Italy (2015-2016)
Furthermore Roland Poms, Austria, was confirmed as Secretary General 2016-2018.
The SB members present at the SB meeting in Neutal also used the opportunity to visit the new MoniQA Secretariat:
It is time again to renew your MoniQA Association Membership for another year and benefit from MoniQA’s international network and a variety of activities and services. If you are not a member yet, please find below some membership benefits or see an activity report and some highlights from 2014-2015 in a PPT here:
1. Extend your professional scope and standing by joining one of MoniQA’s Task Forces: Food Allergen Reference Materials, Proficiency Testing for Mycotoxins, Emerging Issues
2. Easy access and interaction with a global network of experts
3. Easy access and involvement in international research proposals and projects funded by the EU, UNO, Bill Gates Foundation, governments, etc….
4. Training and education opportunities for teachers and students at universities and companies around the globe
5. Easy access to information and grants for personnel exchanges and mobility of researchers, trainers, teachers and students
6. Better international visibility of your institution
7. Discounts on conference, workshop, webinar participation
8. Qualifying to organise your own MoniQA conference or workshop or webinar at your institute or in your country
9. Use the membership and joint achievements to increase your impact and significance in your own country and internationally, which can be important to join a consortium or qualify for a grant or for a tender
10. Privileged information and pre-publication information on upcoming calls and tenders
11. Technical support and access to rare/expensive infra-structure
Please feel free to join any of MoniQA’s current activities. The invitation is open to all MoniQA Members and to those who are planning to sign-up in the near future.
MoniQA is an international and interdisciplinary network of professionals from institutions working in food research, regulatory bodies and trade, providing solutions to promote a safer and secure food supply worldwide. MoniQA facilitates international research collaborations to enable services and products for food safety & quality assurance. MoniQA contributes to the development and validation of analytical methods, provides training and continuous professional development (CPD), consultancy and socio-economic impact assessment.
1) Preparation and exploring research proposals for EU’s Horizon2020 Funding Programme. Examples of past and current project involvements of MoniQA are MoniQA NoE (FP6), PlantLibra (FP7), Connect4Action (FP7), iFAAM (FP7), and others. Currently MoniQA is facilitating project participation for members in Horizon 2020 calls for 2016.
2) Join MoniQA’s task force on emerging food safety and quality issues: discussion forum and exchange of experience to benefit MoniQA’s research agenda and collaboration agreements, new call texts (e.g. EU projects), workshop/conference themes, joint publications and opinion papers and support to other international organisations such as AOAC, AACCI, Codex, DIN, etc…
3) Join MoniQA’s task force on method validation: Preparation of guidelines and protocols for validation of screening methods, validation of binary methods, validation of mass spectroscopic methods, current focus on mycotoxins, allergens, and authenticity issues. MoniQA contributed in the past to AOAC guidelines and EU directives.
We would like to congratulate the awardees of the 5th MoniQA International Conference 2015! Selected by an international jury (Sean Astley, UK; Richard Cantrill, USA; Paul Finglas, UK; Olaf Nehlich, AT; Karin Zimmermann, NL; and Marija Zunabovic-Pichler, AT) the best abstract, best poster and best research work were premiered at the latest MoniQA Conference in Porto, Portugal, 16-18 September 2015.
The Highest Impact Award was received by Telmo Fernandes from REQUIMTE-LAQV, Portugal, www.requimte.pt/laqv/, on behalf of all co-authors for his work on “Evaluating the performance of a novel single-tube nested real-time PCR on the detection of walnut allergens in cakes as affected by thermal processing”. The Highest Impact Award in the value of € 1,800.- is an Open Access publication of this or a related research work in QAS – Quality Assurance and Safety of Foods & Crops. This award was sponsored by the publisher of QAS, Wageningen Academic Publishing, the Netherlands, www.wageningenacademic.com.
The Best Poster Award was received by Ricardo Assuncao from INSA - Instituto Nacional de Saúde Dr. Ricardo Jorge, Portugal, www.insa.pt, on behalf of all co-authors for his work on “Risk assessment of Portuguese children dietary exposure to co-occurring mycotoxins in processed cereal-based foods”. This award was sponsored by R-Biopharm www.r-biopharm.com (MoniQA Member since 2012) with a 300.- € cash award.
The conference programme of the the 5th MoniQA International Conference "Food and Health - Risks and Benefits" will become available soon. Poster abstracts will still be accepted until 15 July 2015.
We are proud to introduce some of the keynote speakers:
Conference website: porto2015.moniqa.org
Registration: porto2015.moniqa.org/register. Early Bird Registration ends on 15 July 2015 (received fee)!
Abstract submission for posters: porto2015.moniqa.org/abstract_submission ends on 15 July 2015!
Make your hotel room reservation now at porto2015.moniqa.org/accommodation
Become an official sponsor: porto2015.moniqa.org/sponsoring
MoniQA proudly presents its newest membership category: Micro-companies can enjoy the full suite of benefits of a regular membership in MoniQA at half price. Starting in 2015 legal persons/consultants/one-man companies and small companies (SMEs) with less than 6 employees and a turn over less than 400,000.- € per year may qualify for a 50 % discounted membership fee in MoniQA. For 500.- € per year micro-companies can enjoy immediate benefits within MoniQA's Global Food Safety and Quality Network including the services listed below.
Additionally, micro-companies may enjoy a new offer (coming soon!) to sign up for a joint membership in MoniQA www.moniqa.org and EuroFIR www.eurofir.org for a further discounted price. For only 800.- € per year micro-companies will get high value services offered by both associations at a low price and covering food data and information underpinning nutrition and public health aspects.
Sign up for Membership in MoniQA or jointly in MoniQA/EuroFir today and start benefiting from the associations' international network and a variety of activities and services (details can be found on www.moniqa.org/about/association and www.eurofir.org/?page_id=255).
Some membership benefits are listed as follows:
After 6 consultations MoniQA's international task force on Food Allergen Reference Materials will meet again in Porto, Portugal, in the morning of 16 September 2015 ahead of the 5th MoniQA International Conference. Registration for this meeting is required by sending an email to conference [at] moniqa [dot] org; it is free for MoniQA Members and the initial task force members.
Current status: After extensive characterization the first materials (milk, a blank matrix material "rice cookie") are about to being tested and validated by the international community. For the gluten-free materials some 35 wheat varieties/flours have been extensively characterized and are now ready for final selection. Additional materials such as whole egg, peanut, hazelnut, and soy are in preparation and associated characterization work is under way. An update will be given at the upcoming meeting in Porto and the next steps will be discussed.
Background: In 2013 MoniQA initiated a Task Force on the development of food allergen and gluten-free reference materials. The Task Force is an international group comprised of several SDOs (Standardisation Organisations), industry representatives, policy makers, test kit providers and method developers, analytical companies, as well as representatives from various universities. This international group works towards consensus on the specific requirements and the design of global food allergen reference/testing materials and gluten-free standard materials. For this purpose MoniQA has liaised with the EU funded project iFAAM, the Prolamin Working Group (PWG) and Australia's Vital concept group.
The aim of MoniQA's initiative is the publication of a Guidance Document on the special requirements and production of food allergen and gluten-free reference materials. Accompanying research and the optimization of the production scheme to provide basic and incurred reference materials, spiked samples and extracts have been initiated.
iFAAM (Integrated Approaches to Food Allergen and Allergy Risk Management; 2013-2017) is the world's biggest ever study of allergies - coordinated by Clare Mills from the University of Manchester www.inflammation-repair.manchester.ac.uk/ifaam. iFAAM involves the world’s leading experts in the UK, Europe, Australia and US. iFAAM, funded under EU's 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.
The MoniQA Association is partner in iFAAM. MoniQA leads Workpackage 9 on translating iFAAM developed tools and food allergen management approaches to practice. Current activities involve the development of a database on food allergen recalls, which will be published shortly. Furthermore, MoniQA leads work within iFAAM to make "May Contain" labeling more transparent and to provide a sustainable online toolbox for allergen management along the food supply chain.
The issue contains 8 review articles, 2 research articles, as well as a foreword by Michele Suman and Roland Poms, the guest editors of this special edition. The articles contain a clear overview of the latest developments, products, and concerns on use of these fast and easy detection methods. Two of the papers are available as open access: the foreword and the review paper by C. von Holst and J. Stroka on “Performance criteria for rapid screening methods to detect mycotoxins”. If your institute has taken a subscription, all papers are freely accessible on the World Mycotoxin Journal MetaPress web page wageningenacademic.metapress.com/content/120817. As MoniQA or ICC member you are eligible for a discounted subscription.
The QAS volume 6, issue 3 (September 2014) is now available and features a special issue on "Food Chemistry and Safety". Edited by Hamit Köksel and Vural Gökmen, both from Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey, the presented research papers were selected from invited presentations in association with the EuroFoodChem XVII conference, which took place 7-10 May 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey. The included papers encompass the latest research trends and findings on the emerging topics of food chemistry and safety. The 10 papers included in this special issue were selected from the papers recommended through an external peer-review process.
The papers in this special issue describe the recent advancements on analytical methodologies for the determination of nanomaterials in complex samples, safety assessment of engineered metallic nanoparticles in foods, performance of multiplex dipstick immunoassay for screening mycotoxins in cereals, analytical challenges in food chemistry proficiency tests, application of e-nose technique for food quality control using novel oligopeptides based materials, and evaluation of safety risks in thermal processing of foods considering processing contaminants such as acrylamide. In addition, some papers describe also the production and characterization of resistant starch and its utilization as food ingredient, thermolysis products of potato starch as potential prebiotics, and anovel cereal fiber drink as a tool for prevention of civilisation disease.
We are pleased to present this special issue to the readers of Quality Assurance and Safety of Crops & Foods journal and food chemistry community worldwide, and hope that it accomplishes our goal of highlighting outstanding recent advances in the field of food chemistry. At the same time we can be looking forward to the next EuroFoodChem XVIII conference in Madrid, Spain, 13-16 October 2015.
Vienna, 12 May 2014. An EU-funded research project is shining a spotlight on the benefits, risks and quality of botanicals. Some 30 international research groups worked in a multi-disciplinary consortium to investigate whether botanicals available as drops, capsules, lozenges, tablets and pills, for example, truly deliver on what they promise. The PlantLIBRA research project started in 2010 and ends in May this year. Some 110 experts from over 30 countries participate in the wrap-up event in Vienna, 12-14 May 2014 (plantlibra2014.icc.or.at). The event is managed by ICC, which is also a consortium partner in this EU funded project (www.icc.or.at/projects/plantlibra).
The 25 nations involved in the "PlantLIBRA" research project all pursued the same goal: to record the benefits and risks of botanicals and test the quality of the products available on the market. The experts involved also compiled a database that will make it easier for the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and other national authorities to assess botanicals.
Testing potency and toxicity
Botanicals, available as capsules, lozenges, tablets, pills and other similar dosage forms, are legally defined as foodstuffs and therefore subject to less stringent regulations than pharmaceuticals. Whether they offer any benefits, or may even pose risks, to consumers is the subject of the EU project that investigated a range of selected samples. "Whether a product actually contains the plant advertised on the package has not been tested in many cases. And it often takes a liability suit before we find out whether the active ingredients in a botanical product are effective or perhaps even poisonous" reports work package leader and Professor Emeritus at the Vetmeduni Vienna, Chlodwig Franz. The goal of this EU project was to shed light on this grey area. Various methods were developed and tested to anaylse the quality and safety of botanicals that are used in food supplements, including DNA analysis techniques that allow the exact identification of the plants used.
European products exceeded expectations
The researchers examined different products from all over Europe that contained passion flower, devil's claw, melissa, chamomile, valerian, calendula and ribwort. According to researcher Silvia Sponza: "All the European products we examined, including teas, pills, drops, powders and ointments, did in fact contain what was listed on the packaging. And the quality of the active ingredients was even on par with the quality standards that apply to pharmaceuticals."
The scientists also drew up a list of analytical laboratories in Europe, an important resource for the industry. This will make it much easier for botanicals manufacturers to select a competent lab to run analyses on their products.
Interviews with experts
The PlantLIBRA final conference is held in Vienna from 12-14 May 2014. Study research partners and representatives from the industry are in attendance. Various experts, including the Coordinator, Professor Patrizia Restani from the University of Milan (Italy), are available during the event at the Hotel Stefanie (Taborstraße 12, 1020 Vienna) for interviews. Please view the full programme at plantlibra2014.icc.or.at/programme and please feel free to contact us for an appointment at office [at] icc [dot] or [dot] at.
Over 70 participants attended the annual Joint MoniQA/IAM Workshop for Codex Alimentarius which was held 2 March 2014 in Budapest, Hungary. Chaired by Richard Cantrill, AOCS and Roland Poms, ICC, this year's event focused on "Sampling issues in the light of new approaches and existing Codex Standards". The featured presentations from Roger Wood, Chairman of the Inter-Agency Meeting; Árpád Ambrus, Hungarian Food Safety Office; Steve Ellison, LGC; Astrid Nordbotten, Norwegian Food Safety Authority and Roger Kissling, Fonterra Ltd. were made available to MoniQA members and participants. MoniQA is now collecting ideas and needs for the next Joint IAM/MoniQA Workshop linked to the Codex Alimentarius CCMAS meeting in Budapest in 2015, please send your comments and ideas to moniqa [at] moniqa [dot] org. To join MoniQA, please go to www.moniqa.org.
It is time again to renew your MoniQA Association Membership for another year and benefit from MoniQA's international network and a variety of activities and services (details can be found on www.moniqa.org/about/association).
Some membership benefits are listed as follows:
The videos of the MoniQA workshop "Method Performance and Analytical Uncertainty", 19 June 2013, BOKU, Vienna, Austria, held by Richard Cantrill (AOCS) on Method Performance and Hilde Skår Norli (NMKL) on Analytical Uncertainty are now available on the MoniQA website. They can be watched for free for MoniQA members (please log into the MoniQA website) and will be available via paid access for non-members soon.
Watch the videos: