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Appointment recognises impact of functional foods and the immune system

9 October 2019

Translational Immunology Team Leader Dr Olivier Gasser has been appointed as a Fellow of Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ), a government agency that develops and administers the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. Made up of experts from a wide range of scientific and professional fields, the Fellows advise on food safety and standards in Australia and New Zealand. With the addition of immunology expertise through Dr Gasser, the appointment recognises the growing need to better understand how ‘functional foods’ impact the immune system and human health.

“We’re seeing many functional foods beginning to flood the Australian and New Zealand markets that in some way relate to the human microbiome or immune system,” says Dr Gasser. “Things like probiotics and prebiotics are appearing on shelves in greater numbers, so the legislative bodies need recommendations around these new foods, and whether the science behind them is sound and safe for consumption.

“I think that’s the driver behind my appointment,” says Dr Gasser. “This comes off the back of the capacity and expertise we’ve developed with the New Zealand Government’s High Value Nutrition National Science Challenge,” says Dr Gasser. “We’re looking into different food products and investigating their relationship with the microbiome and the immune system.”