Part III: Translating Reference Doses into Allergen Management Practice: Challenges for Stakeholders

Food and Chemical Toxicology. 2014;67:277-287

The risk from unintended food allergens can be assessed and quantified using the same approaches as for other contaminants. This paper outlines a risk analysis framework to underpin decision-making in the area of allergen cross-contact management.

In the previous two papers (Hattersley et al., 2014 and Crevel et al., 2014), it was demonstrated that the risk from unintended food allergens can be assessed and quantified using the same approaches as for other contaminants. However, risk assessment sets out the (health) consequences of exposure, but does not indicate whether the risk in question is acceptable or not, or at what point it would become so. It also does not deal with the challenges of implementation.

This paper discusses the elements that need to be considered in arriving at such a conclusion. It starts by examining the meaning of the risk assessment endpoint generated by the methodologies previously described (Crevel et al., 2014) and how these might be communicated to the different stakeholders. It then considers the implications, benefits and potential pitfalls for each population group of adopting specific reference values, in particular those proposed for the Australian Allergen Bureau’s Voluntary Incidental Trace Allergen Labelling (VITAL) system. Finally, it offers a vision for allergen management as it moves forward.

The framework discussed is intended to be applied to manage the risk from allergen cross-contact in foods for normal consumption. It is not intended to provide the basis for claiming that a product is “free-from” a specific allergen, although it may help in deriving criteria for doing so.

Developing knowledge about the relationship between allergen dose and population reactivity, as well as the tools to translate this knowledge to practical action to improve safety and quality of life of allergic consumers will help manage food allergens as effectively as other food safety hazards.

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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 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.

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