New app for food allergy sufferers

@JCU New app for food allergy sufferers

App for food allergy sufferers: PhD student develops Australia’s first dedicated Food Recall app

allergy app

Associate Professor Andreas Lopata (Left) and PhD student Michael Sheridan

JCU PhD student Michael Sheridan and Supervisor A/Prof Andreas Lopata of JCU's Molecular & Immunology Group have developed Australia’s only dedicated food recall notification app - FoodRecallAus.

Foods that are recalled can be contaminated with viruses, bacteria, or foreign objects, for example. Most food recalls are as a result of undeclared food allergens on food labels. 2014 saw the highest number of food recalls ever in Australia. At the same time childhood food allergy is reaching epidemic levels.

The FoodRecallAus app food safety tool fosters innovation for both regulators and consumers. The app was developed in response to the 2015 Hepatitis-A mixed Berry Scare recall. Since then there have been some major food recalls including coconut milk products due to undeclared dairy allergen (enacted due to the death of a child), and Salad greens recall due to bacterial contamination.

State and Local Government Environmental Health Officers (EHO’s) perform food safety regulatory and compliance activities including food recall investigations, inspections/audits at school tuck shop kitchens and performing audits of Food Safety Programs (FSP’s). Environmental Health Australia (EHA) – the peak body representing EHO’s in Australia has nationally endorsed the FoodRecallAus app!

The FoodRecallAus app has built-in push notifications so that all new food recalls posted on the FSANZ website automatically appear as a pop-up with a sound alerting app users to each new food recall notification.

Food recall information, derived from Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ), is delivered directly to a smart phone or tablet device via the FoodRecallAus app, which can be downloaded from the GooglePlay and iTunes stores for less than AU$1.50.

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