Can We Determine a Threshold Level for Allergenic Foods by Statistical Analysis of Published Data in the Literature? Statistical Models for Food Allergenicity Testing

Allergy. 2002;57(8):741-746

The ILSI Europe Food Allergy Task Force initiated, in 2001, a paper to investigate whether a statistical model could be developed to estimate a “threshold” dose for foods eliciting allergic reactions in susceptible patients. The threshold dose is defined as one that elicits allergic reactions in a given (small) proportion of susceptible patients.

Based on data available from the literature, a preliminary statistical model was developed using the actual allergen content in four foods, where data for allergen content are available (peanut, soy, egg, milk). The model demonstrated that the threshold doses giving a reaction of one in a million in susceptible patients were within the same order of magnitude for egg, milk and soy, but were an order of magnitude lower for peanut flour. Although several assumptions were made in creating this statistical model (which needs further validation), it was demonstrated that the previously published differences in threshold doses for various foods can be largely eliminated by comparing actual allergen content; this may therefore serve as a model for further studies.

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