GS1 Aust calls retailers, suppliers to put food allergy first
16/05/2012 - GS1 Australia, as an official sponsor of the 2012 Food Allergy Awareness Week, is calling all companies within the food and grocery industry to get on board the latest tool to help consumers access trusted information – GS1 GoScan. Nicki Letts
With as many as 1 in 10 Australian children* and 2 in 100 adults suffering from a food allergy, Food Allergy Awareness Week (14 – 18 May) is an annual national campaign by Anaphylaxis Australia that helps promote and develop the awareness of food allergy and anaphylactic reactions amongst Australians.
During the launch at the GS1 Sydney office recently, GS1 Australia's CEO Maria Palazzolo recognised food manufacturers and brand owners have been diligent in updating food labels to provide consumers with greater information, but said now is the time to take the next step in securing food safety.
"We implore companies – from brand owners and manufacturers right through to retailers and wholesalers – to get on board the latest initiative to drive better availability of trusted product information for consumers," Palazzolo said.
"The industry has been proactively working towards the future, developing an iPhone application that will deliver greater depth of product information to consumers from a trusted source – GS1 GoScan."
Launching in September 2012, GS1 GoScan is the first industry-endorsed iPhone application that will provide detailed extended labelling product data to consumers, accurately and in real time.
The app enables consumers to scan the bar code on a product and receive comprehensive product data, including allergen information, ingredient lists, nutritional content, daily intake information, dietary information (such as kosher, halal, vegan, organic), as well as preparation, usage and storage instructions, country of origin, product descriptions and images.
GS1 GoScan leverages GS1 Australia's global data synchronisation network datapool, GS1net, to enable brand owners to collect, validate and publish product information.
"This week is an important vehicle for us to tell allergy sufferers, their friends and families about the new tool that will help them manage their food requirements, by accessing trusted product information via their iPhone at the supermarket," Palazzolo said.
"At the same time, brand owners can be sure that consumers are accessing up-to-date and accurate information about their products – thereby building brand trust and loyalty."
GS1 Australia has worked collaboratively with Anaphylaxis Australia to ensure GS1 GoScan meets the unique needs of allergy sufferers.
Anaphylaxis Australia was directly involved in development and research for the app as a member of the industry group which also included major retailers, leading international food companies, the Australian Food and Grocery Council, Australian Universities and additional national health organisations, working in partnership with GS1 Australia.
Maria Said, president of Anaphylaxis Australia, acknowledges the long standing commitment of GS1 Australia.
"Anaphylaxis Australia embraces the support of GS1 Australia who is doing what it can to support allergic consumers through the development of the soon to be launched GS1 GoScan application," Said asserted.
"GS1 Australia has gone to extreme lengths in working with key groups, including Anaphylaxis Australia, to produce a tool that shares accurate information on food ingredient content and food allergy.
"The many activities and tools launched during the campaign will assist the community with managing food allergy in everyday life and managing an emergency when it happens."
In addition to building the awareness of food allergy management tools such as GS1 GoScan, Food Allergy Awareness Week emphasises the importance of food allergy awareness in the food service sector.
Global studies have revealed the majority of food allergic reactions occur when eating outside the home, many in restaurants and cafes.
Approximately nine foods cause about 90 per cent of all reactions, with dangerous foods often appearing in unexpected places – from shellfish in soup stock to nuts used in flour.
"This is not just an issue for the food and grocery sector; it is also of extreme importance for the foodservices industry," Palazzolo said.
"Food allergies are a serious issue that can have devastating, even fatal, consequences if not correctly understood and managed by those in the foodservice industry – and this starts with the companies producing and supplying the food served."
GS1 Australia is working closely with the Foodservice sector, having recently established the GS1 Australasian Food-service Industry Steering Group (FISG) with the aim to drive improvements in supply chain standards, including traceability, in the food service supply chain through widespread usage of the GS1 system.
"With the industry working together, these standards will drive measurable improvements in efficiency, product information, and safety for foodservice businesses individually and the industry as a whole," Palazzolo said.
- For more information on GS1 GoScan: www.gs1au.org/services/goscan
- For information on the GS1 Australasian Foodservice Industry Steering Group (FISG): http://www.gs1au.org/industry/foodservice.asp
- For information on Food Allergy Awareness Week: www.foodallergyaware.com.au
*Osborne et al. Prevalence of challenge-proven IgE-mediated food allergy using population-based sampling and predetermined challenge criteria in infants. J Allergy Clin Immunolol 2011; 127: 668-676
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