Operation

The databank is now run as a collaborative venture between Leatherhead, the FDF and the BDA. Leatherhead maintains the databank by contacting food companies for information and producing the master lists.

The operation of the databank is simple. It is compiled from information submitted on Product Registration Forms, in hard copy or in disk format, which participating companies complete for each product they wish to enter.

Companies are supplied with detailed notes giving definitions of 'free from' for each ingredient and they indicate on the form whether their product is free from or not free from that specific ingredient. The information is entered onto the databank, categorised into product groups, which is used to subdivide the booklets, and returned to the company for checking. When all the information has been collected and sorted by the host computer, the various free-from lists are generated. The information is subdivided into over 20 food categories, such as meat products, confectionery, desserts, etc., which makes the products easier to find. These lists are forwarded annually to the BDA, which is responsible for printing and distribution of the lists to its members. Approximately 8000 booklets are distributed annually by the BDA; companies are asked to notify Leatherhead during the year of any product formulation changes that might affect the status of a product listed. Dietitians are notified of these mid-year changes via the BDA. Dietitians may also request specific combination lists of the ingredients covered by the databank for people with multiple food intolerances. These lists are generated to order by Leatherhead Food RA.

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