Food Allergy

Food Allergy

Improving the assessment and management of food allergen risks to protect people with food allergies

Task Force Information

Objectives and list of Task Force members

Contact Information

Contact details in case you have specific questions

Activity Overview

Overview of ongoing and upcoming activities

Expert Groups

Objectives, output and list of experts involved in each activity

Publications

List of publications of this
Task Force

Multimedia

Links to Task Force related documents, recordings and much more...

Completed Expert Groups

Details including experts involved of each activity

Task Force Information

Objectives

The Task Force aims at fostering an international evidence-based consensus on how to assess the risk from allergenic foods. Once identified the agreed method, the Task Force envisage developing tools to help manage the risks and protect all consumers.

Task Force Members

WP DataTables

* Scientific Advisors

Contact Information

For more detailed information, please contact Geraldine Borja at gborja@ilsieurope.be

Activity Overview

Ongoing

- Allergen Quantitative Risk Assessment (QRA): The Development and Integration of Methodology to Link Emerging Tools with Risk Management Actions across the Supply Chain, including Precautionary Labelling 

The expert group identified the methodological aspects that should be applied to allergen risk assessment within complex supply chains in real food production situations. The current focus of
the group is to create a Community of Practice (CoP) and a user-friendly guideline to assist various stakeholders in implementing QRA.

Start date: June 2023 | End date: December 2024

- Allergenicity Assessment of New Protein-Containing Sources and Ingredients 

The activity aims to facilitate the introduction of novel protein sources by promoting the tools for clearer
regulatory environment, supported by better alignment between scientific test methodologies and risk management objectives. The current focus of the group is to disseminate their findings at events and developing webinars.

Start date: November 2019 | End date: July 2024

In the pipeline

- Effective regulation of precautionary allergen labelling (PAL)

The Expert Group will adopt a multi-stakeholder approach, involving Regulators, Food Business Operators, Health Care Practitioners, and Patient Support Groups. Its primary objective will be to identify gaps hindering the effective regulation of PAL and ultimately determine the necessary actions and levers required to address these barriers and gaps. The goal is to establish a more uniform approach to decisions regarding PAL.

Expert Groups

Allergen Quantitative Risk Assessment (QRA): The Development and Integration of Methodology to Link Emerging Tools with Risk Management Actions across the Supply Chain, including Precautionary Labelling

Background and Objectives

There is a global and increasing interest in integrating risk assessment as a part of allergen management, including it in decisions on precautionary allergen labelling (PAL). This project aims to define consensus on the methodologies needed for quantitative risk assessment. The consensual approach will better protect public health and improve the trust of allergic consumers in packaged foods by including the labelling in this approach.

Output

After the publication of the practical guidance (Black and White Report) on QRA in 2022, the EG is further disseminating this document at different events and providing trainings. Furthermore, the group is launching a Community of Practice and plans to develop a userfriendly document that can help different stakeholders understand how to apply the QRA guidance.

Expert Group Members

 

Allergenicity Assessment of New Protein-Containing Sources and Ingredients

Background and Objectives

The introduction of novel food products could expose the population to new dietary proteins. Assessing the potential allergenicity of these proteins is essential to their safe introduction, but remains a challenge.The activity is focusing on establishing the way different types of methodologies can be deployed to achieve a quantitative or semi-quantitative assessment of the risk posed by protein sources. The recently developed Adverse Outcome Pathway, for IgE-mediated sensitisation in particular, is considered.

Output

The aim of this activity is to facilitate the introduction of novel protein sources by promoting the tools for a clearer regulatory environment, supported by better alignment between scientific test methodologies and risk management objectives. The outcome of the Expert Group could be a toolbox for all involved in the risk assessment process for novel foods and ingredients, and should include how best to communicate effectively with non-technical stakeholders.

Expert Group Members

 

WP DataTables

Publications

All Publications

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The growing world population, changing dietary habits, and increasing pressure on agricultural resources are drivers for the development of novel foods (including new protein sources as well as existing protein sources that are produced or used in an alternative way or in a different concentration). These changes, coupled with consumer inclination to adopt new dietary trends, may heighten the intake of unfamiliar proteins, or escalate consumption of specific ones, potentially amplifying the prevalence of known and undiscovered food allergies. Assessing the allergenicity of novel or modified protein-based foods encounters several challenges, including uncertainty surrounding acceptable risks and assessment criteria for determining safety. Moreover, the available methodological tools for gathering supportive data exhibit significant gaps. This paper synthesises these challenges, addressing the varied interpretations of "safe" across jurisdictions and societal attitudes towards allergenic risk. It proposes a comprehensive two-part framework for allergenicity assessment: the first part emphasises systematic consideration of knowledge and data requirements, while the second part proposes the application of a generic assessment approach, integrating a Threshold of Allergological Concern. This combined framework highlights areas that require attention to bridge knowledge and data gaps, and it delineates research priorities for its development and implementation.

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Citation: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6651934

Allergen cross-contact and unintended allergen presence (UAP) are a significant challenge for food operators.

The aim of this document is to translate the findings of the Expert Group on 'Food Allergen Quantitative Risk Assessment (QRA)' into a Guidance document which provides tools and approaches to help harmonize the data gathering process for food allergen risk assessments and therefore aid with their implementation. This Guidance aims to promote consistency in documentation, decision making and the application of allergen QRA.

The purpose of this Guidance is not to take an allergen labelling or risk management decision for the user, but rather is intended to help them decide when allergen QRA is appropriate or necessary, and how to decide if it can actually be performed and, if it is to be undertaken, what is the most suitable methodology.

The intended audience is mainly industry wishing to understand and conduct food allergen risk assessments, and potentially QRA. However, it should be noted, that this guide could also be useful for others, including official control agencies.

Download the Guidance

Tools and documents developed for use with the Guidance

  • Cross-contact / Contamination estimate calculator: A practical calculator to estimate the UAP in a product can be found here. This tool was initially developed by the EU project iFAAM and is kindly provided by TNO. It can be used for free after initial registration.
  • QRA calculation worksheet v4.4: download here.
  • Incidents form: For download here. See Chapter 4 of the Guidance for more information.
  • Sampling & Analysis form: download here.

Training videos for this Guidance

  • Watch the webinar of 23 June 2022 here.
  • Management of Operations: to be published soon
  • Incidents: to be published soon

Other resources

  • Download the presentation slides from our training "Demystifying the Risks of Allergy Risk Assessment" held at Food Allergy Forum 2023 here.

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

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Food Allergy Task Force

NEW APPROACHES FOR FOOD SAFETY

Quantitative risk assessment (QRA) for allergens exists in many different forms with different requirements placed on the risk assessor depending on the question that needs to be answered. An electronic workshop held in October 2020 and comprising representatives from a wide range of food allergy and allergen stakeholder groups identified that a summary of current best in class guidance, identified gaps, potential improvements & harmonization of allergen QRA arising largely from cross contact would be very beneficial. The current manuscript provides an introduction to allergen QRA and an overview of inputs potentially needed for different QRA methods, when deemed feasible and necessary. It also introduces the European branch of the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI Europe) Expert Group (EG), created to attempt to achieve consensus on the methodologies needed for allergen QRAs by food business operators, and their implementation. Areas of focus include proactive assessments for food production under normal conditions, both in the upstream supply chain and in food production facilities, and reactive assessments as part of an allergen incident response. As a follow-up report to the October 2020 electronic workshop, the current manuscript provides an overview of allergen QRA and insights into the guidance being developed. This manuscript will itself be followed by more detailed guidance for allergen QRA published open access as an ILSI Europe report.

Link to download the full-text

Keywords Expand

Allergens; Quantitative risk assessment (QRA); Supply chain; Incidents; Cross-contact; Precautionary allergen labelling (PAL)

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The growing world population, changing dietary habits, and increasing pressure on agricultural resources are drivers for the development of novel foods (including new protein sources as well as existing protein sources that are produced or used in an alternative way or in a different concentration). These changes, coupled with consumer inclination to adopt new dietary trends, may heighten the intake of unfamiliar proteins, or escalate consumption of specific ones, potentially amplifying the prevalence of known and undiscovered food allergies. Assessing the allergenicity of novel or modified protein-based foods encounters several challenges, including uncertainty surrounding acceptable risks and assessment criteria for determining safety. Moreover, the available methodological tools for gathering supportive data exhibit significant gaps. This paper synthesises these challenges, addressing the varied interpretations of "safe" across jurisdictions and societal attitudes towards allergenic risk. It proposes a comprehensive two-part framework for allergenicity assessment: the first part emphasises systematic consideration of knowledge and data requirements, while the second part proposes the application of a generic assessment approach, integrating a Threshold of Allergological Concern. This combined framework highlights areas that require attention to bridge knowledge and data gaps, and it delineates research priorities for its development and implementation.

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Multimedia

Completed Expert Groups