Part II: Development and Evolution of Risk Assessment for Food Allergens

Food and Chemical Toxicology. 2014;67:262-276

Assessing the risk arising from the unintended presence of allergenic constituents in products is critical to their management. This paper presents the results of the work commissioned by the ILSI Europe Food Allergy Task Force and the ensuing stakeholder workshop discussions.

In recent years it has become generally accepted that the principles and methodologies developed for toxicological risk assessment can be applied to food allergens as contaminants. The specific risk assessment for food allergens focuses on the ability of (generally) low levels of allergenic residues in manufactured foods to provoke reactions in sensitised individuals.

Dose distribution modelling of MEDs permitted the quantification of the risk of reaction at the population level and has been readily integrated with consumption and contamination data through probabilistic risk assessment approaches to generate quantitative risk predictions.

This paper discusses the strengths and limitations of this approach and identifies important data gaps, which affect the outcomes of these predictions. Good quality and amounts of data are now available for a range of regulated allergens from food challenge studies.

It is concluded that application of certain models has provided useful insights which are not only driving further refinements, but also generating testable hypotheses. Results of model predictions have also thrown into sharp focus the framing of the risk management questions, in particular those relating to the type of reaction that risk management seeks to avoid.

This paper is the second of a series of three publications (Hattersley et al., 2014 and Crevel et al., 2014).

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Related Publications

Part I: Advances in the Risk Management of Unintended Presence of Allergenic Foods in Manufactured Food Products – An Overview
Hattersley S, Ward R, Baka A, Crevel RW. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 2014;67:255-261.

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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For more information about the Food Allergy Task Force, please click here.