We want to say a massive thank you to all those who got involved in our focus group sessions in June for the AlleRiC study. They have been really important to the project and brought us some fascinating and invaluable insights on a number of food allergy issues.
The AlleRiC project – Allergic Reactions in the Community – is part of the wider iFAAM (Integrated Approaches to Food Allergen and Allergy Risk Management) project – the world's biggest ever study of food allergies. Spearheaded by the University of Manchester, the €9million project builds on an earlier €14.3 million research study and will involve the world’s leading experts in the UK, Europe, Australia and US.
The project aims to produce a standardised management process for companies involved in food manufacturing. It will also develop tools designed to enforce these regulations and inform new health advice on nutrition for pregnant women, babies and allergy sufferers.
Participants recruited for the study’s crucial first stage were asked questions about their experiences of food allergy. The answers will be used to develop an online questionnaire which can then be used by people to record food allergy reactions as soon as possible after they occur. The data gathered from this will inform the later stages of the project’s work on making food manufacturing safer and “may contain” labelling more meaningful.
Carey Ledford, our Membership Manager said, ‘The focus groups provided us with a unique opportunity to speak in depth to people living with severe allergies and gave us a new insight into the broad range of symptoms experienced by allergic people. We were worried to hear frequent reports of allergic people unsure and hesitant about using their adrenaline injectors, and we hope we can take some action to make people feel more confident.’
She concluded, ‘The participants were fantastic! We are so thankful for their honesty and willingness to speak in depth about an unpleasant subject.’
The project’s next steps will involve rating the draft online questionnaire. The best bit about this stage is that it will be done online, so any severely food allergic person (or parent of a food allergic child) can take part! (The exception being those people who helped produce it through participating in the initial focus group stage). More details will follow soon for anyone interested.
Once again, thank you so much for giving up your time to help us with this project and we will keep you posted on the research and its results.