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FACTS is the ‘go-to’ company for providing customised and practical solutions for any query, big or small, to support our clients’ business plans for product quality, brand preservation and overall growth.

FACTS offers members of the food and allied industries great depth and breadth of knowledge within one company. We are an authentic, multidisciplinary and connected team of experts, with medical, food science, dietetic, genetic and commercial knowledge. Our synergy of skills allows us to offer unparalleled expertise in the analytical testing, nutritional, regulatory, advisory and educational domains and provides vital advantages to our clients.

We continually invest in our people, technology and partnerships to ensure that we sustain our solid foundation in scientific excellence. Our committed team of researchers has a strong presence in local and international networks and collaborative projects and represent a trusted scientific workforce, referenced by the academia, industry and government.

Facts News

Rest assured, we stand by you – it’s business as usual. The Food and Allergy Consulting and Testing Services team will always strive t...

Dealing with the impact of COVID-19

26 March 2020
Rest assured, we stand by you – it’s business as usual. The Food and Allergy Consulting and Testing Services team will always strive to serve you in the most accommodating and attentive way possible. We support the advice from government and the World Health Organisation (WHO), limiting unnecessary human contact is an invaluable precaution. Please be assured that during this critical time, as you integrate solutions in your organisation to flatten the curve of the spread of COVID-19 (while maintaining your business output), the FACTS team is available to support your management decisions with evidence-based information concerning the COVID-19 virus. Our facility has increased the frequency of routine environmental cleaning, and ensure continuing good hygiene practice among employees. In addition, we have considered best practice in limiting the risk of our laboratory team members being contaminated by the virus – all to ensure that our laboratory services will continue as normal. As a team, we are committed to remaining calm and rational during this process and applying our minds to how this experience may encourage us in safeguarding the food industry from biological hazards such as this one in the future.

Since the national status of the coronavirus pandemic changes rapidly, please ensure you research and follow trusted international and local media sources for the latest information such as:

COVID-19 Corona Virus South African Resource Portal:
https://sacoronavirus.co.za/ South African Coronavirus Disease 2019 Public and Emergency Hotline: 0800 029 999 South African Coronavirus Disease 2019 WhatsApp Support Line: 0600 123456 The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) including technical resources: http://www.nicd.ac.za/diseases-a-z-index/covid-19/covid-19-resources/ The World Health Organization (WHO): https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus We welcome your questions or concerns, and encourage you to communicate with us by emailing [email protected]

How are we assisting you with our current services?

Allergen, Species and other testing & Consulting/interpretations:

Our laboratory will continue to receive samples for testing. You will receive communication from us via email, Skype calls where necessary, and telephone calls. We are here to provide you with support, assistance and guidance on all your allergen concerns.

Workshops:

We will continue to accept registration forms for the FACTS workshops. As the global and national situation is changing daily, we are keeping registration open until further notice. Our first workshop is scheduled for the end of May 2020. You will be notified if the workshop is cancelled a month prior to the workshop. Payment will only be required two weeks before the commencement of the workshop.

Rapid-Kit availability:

We will continue to provide our clients with Rapid Kits. You will be notified of any concerns regarding availability.

On-site training:

All on-site training will be postponed until further notice. Communication will be maintained through email, Skype video calls and telephone conversations.

Travel policy:

We have postponed all national travel until further notice but are able to interact with you via Skype, Zoom, or other methods of your choosing.

Client meetings:

In order to protect our team members and clients, and to curb the spread of COVID-19, we have opted not to meet in person, but rather to be available to clients through email, Skype video calls and telephonic conversations. Please phone our office number, or our mobile numbers, which you will find on our email signatures.
The first FDA-approved peanut oral immunotherapy product is now available for the treatment of peanut allergy in children. Is this type o...

First FDA-approved peanut allergy treatment

08 March 2020
The first FDA-approved peanut oral immunotherapy product is now available for the treatment of peanut allergy in children. Is this type of product the future of immunotherapy? What risks are associated with Palforzia? At the end of January 2020, the FDA approved Palforzia [Peanut (Arachis hypogaea) Allergen Powder-dnfp], a peanut allergy ‘drug’ developed by Aimmune Therapeutics. Is this type of product the future of immunotherapy? What risks are associated with Palforzia? An allergic reaction to peanuts occurs when an allergic individual’s immune system mounts an IgE response to peanut protein that is considered harmless to non-allergic individuals. Patients with severe peanut allergies are advised to always carry an epinephrine auto injector (EpiPen) with them; but even with prompt administration, peanut reaction can in rare cases still lead to severe reactions.

What is Palforzia?

Palforzia is a peanut oral immunotherapy programme, and does not offer a cure. Oral immunotherapy involves introducing miniscule doses of food allergen into the diet daily, in this case, peanut, and then increasing the dose to a level that will induce a degree of tolerance by the immune system to that allergen. It is designed to reduce the risk associated with accidental peanut exposure, offering a great deal of relief to peanut-allergic children and their caregivers. It is important to note that allergic individuals must continue to actively avoid peanut, even if they are on the programme. Currently, it is approved for administration to children of ages 4 to 17; but it can be used as part of the maintenance programme beyond the age of 18.

Stages of the Palforzia programme

The programme consists of three phases, spanning a couple of months. Initial dose escalation and the first dose of each up-dosing cycle must be administered under the supervision of a healthcare professional, due to risk of adverse reaction associated with these steps.

Are there any associated risks?

Anaphalaxes or other adverse reactions are possible at any stage of the programme, but are especially likely during the initiation phase, and when the first dose of each up-dosing cycle is administered. Once the 11 up-dose cycles have been completed successfully, patients continue with the maintenance programme for the rest of their lives. For more information on Palforzia,
click here . Watch this space for more allergen-related content.
Cinnamon has been a household favourite for centuries, and is used all around the world. This popular spice comes from the inner bark of ...

Coumarin concern in cinnamon

08 March 2020
Cinnamon has been a household favourite for centuries, and is used all around the world. This popular spice comes from the inner bark of several tree species of the genus Cinnamomum. Because of its popularity, cinnamon – especially ground cinnamon – is subject to adulteration. This is often in the form of adulteration with other species of cinnamon, some of which contain high levels of a hepatotoxic compound called coumarin, i.e., coumarin may harm your liver and increase the risk of cancer.

FACTS on Coumarin

Coumarin (2H-chromen-2-one) is an aromatic compound found in several plants in nature, including the cinnamon plant species and the tonka bean. Coumarin has a characteristically sweet odour and a bitter taste, and is an established hepatotoxin and carcinogen when consumed in large amounts. The tolerable daily intake has been defined 0.1 mg coumarin per kg body weight according to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the German Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR).

The Risk

Cinnamomum verum, also known as Sri Lanka cinnamon, Ceylon cinnamon or true cinnamon, is the most suitable species for use as a foodstuff. In terms of coumarin content, this species contains trace amounts (0.005-0.090mg coumarin/g cinnamon). In contrast, Cinnamomum cassia, an inferior species of cinnamon often used to adulterate true cinnamon, contains up to 12.18mg coumarin/g cinnamon, presenting a high toxicity risk. C. verum has a very subtle cinnamon flavour compared to C. cassia, which has a much stronger, spicier cinnamon flavour – attributed to its higher levels of aromatic compounds. Both species of cinnamon are sold legally, resulting in a higher risk of C. cassia adulteration of C. verum, to improve the sensory quality of the product. Another potential adulterant of true cinnamon, especially in ground form, is tonka beans. Tonka beans contain high levels of coumarin, which impart a sweet flavour, thus improving the perceived sensory properties of spices such as cinnamon and vanilla at a lower financial cost. In recent years, cinnamon has also been adulterated with coffee husks and lead. FACTS offers an array of detection tests for spice adulteration, and can assist with the detection of any of the above mentioned contaminants and adulterants. If you would like more information, please
contact us.

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