Food and Chemical Toxicology. 2014;67:255-261
Food allergy is a relatively recent newcomer to the ranks of food safety issues, only being effectively recognised as such in the last 25 to 30 years. This paper provides an overview of the development and current knowledge and thinking on risk assessment and its application to risk management of food allergens.
Food allergy is of global and growing importance to public health, affecting consumers’ quality of life (mainly children) with an increasing burden on health service resources. It affects 2 to 4% of the population. Furthermore, allergic reactions to foods account for a high proportion of admissions to hospitals for acute allergic reactions.
The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of recent advances in, and current thinking on, best practices, challenges and progress on development of allergen risk management and communication approaches. It is targeted towards anyone who wants to improve their understanding of current thinking in the area of allergen risk assessment and management.
The paper concludes that it is now considered by a wide range of stakeholders from the food industry, allergic consumer groups, clinicians and regulatory bodies that recent developments in risk assessment methodologies can be applied to allergen risk assessment. There are sufficient data currently available to derive initial reference doses for most of the allergens on the current EU regulatory list. Whilst there is always a temptation to wait for better and more robust data, it would not serve allergic consumers to continue to defer decisions on quantitative benchmarks for allergen management. It would be more efficient to accept that there is a need for regular reviews of the initial reference doses, as and when new data and knowledge emerge.
Accompanying papers (i.e. Crevel et al., 2014a and Crevel et al., 2014b) describe these advances along with approaches to optimal communication to the food allergic consumer, in particular the risks from the unintended presence of allergenic foods in manufactured food sold pre-packaged.
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Part II: Development and Evolution of Risk Assessment for Food Allergens
Crevel RW, Baumert JL, Baka A, Houben GF, Knulst AC, Kruizinga AG, Luccioli S, Taylor SL, Madsen CB. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 2014;67:262-276.
Part III: Translating Reference Doses into Allergen Management Practice: Challenges for Stakeholders
Crevel RW, Baumert JL, Luccioli S, Baka A, Hattersley S, Hourihane JO, Ronsmans S, Timmermans F, Ward R, Chung YJ. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 2014;67:277-287.
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