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

Strategic Vision

The task force addresses the risks in management of food allergens to protect people with food allergies.

Background

The adoption of a ‘Western’ lifestyle in developing countries has increased food allergies across the world.

Objectives

  • Foster an international evidence-based consensus on how to assess the risk from allergenic foods.
  • Develop tools to help managing the risk and protecting consumers.

Achieved Results

  • K. Verhoeckx et al., 2015 assessed whether food processing is a mitigating or aggravating factor in allergic sensitisation. It has already been cited 179 times.
  • The task force was a partner of a successful EU funded project Integrated Approaches to Food Allergen and Allergy Risk Management (iFAAM).

Scientific Impact

  • The task force made significant contributions to the VITAL® (Voluntary Incidental Trace Allergen Labelling) scientific panel and is now reviewing the suitability of analytical methods measuring VITAL® reference doses. The outcome has been presented at the Allergen Bureau’s organised event Food Allergy Management Symposium (FAMS) in 2019.
  • Over the years the Food Allergy TF has built a strong network of fruitful collaborations with organisations such as Food Allergy research & Resource Program (FARRP), the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI), the Food Standards Agency (FSA), and the patients organisations Allergy UK and the German Allergy and Asthma Association (DAAB).

For more detailed information, please contact Dr Angeliki Stavropoulou at astavropoulou@ilsieurope.be.

Task Force Members


* Scientific Advisors

Expert Groups

A Framework to Help Define an Appropriate Level of Protection for Consumers with Food Allergies – Ongoing

Background & Objectives

Consider and define what constitutes tolerable risk in the context of allergic reactions to food attributable to Unintended Allergen Presence (UAP) and decisions on the use of Precautionary Allergen Labelling (PAL).

This activity aims to:

  • develop a consensus on a framework within which tolerable risk arising from UAP can be defined;
  • improve food allergen management and quality of life for people with food allergies.

Output

This activity is expected to deliver a peer-reviewed publication defining a tolerable level of risk for an improved and more transparent management of food allergen risks.

Review of Suitability of Analytical Methods for Measuring VITAL® Reference Doses for EU Allergens in Foodstuffs

Background & Objectives

  • Verify the suitability and sensitivity of the methods currently available and the compliance with the established reference doses (VITAL® 2.0).
  • Provide guidance on applicability of detection of concentrations based on current VITAL® reference doses.
  • This activity aims to provide a state of the art review of existing analytical technology to detect food allergens.

Output

Deliver a peer-reviewed publication that provides guidance on the introduction and adoption of reference doses for precautionary allergen labelling (PAL).

Severity versus Dose with Respect to Allergic Reactions – Completed

Objectives
The lack of data on the relationship between dose of allergen and severity of subsequent reaction has been identified as a critical data gap in relation to the definition of benchmarks for allergen management. Since severe reactions are clearly of greater concern, both from the public health perspective and from that of allergic individuals, a better understanding of how severity of reaction relates to the dose of allergen consumed would improve safety for these at-risk people.

Activity
The expert group has identified and reviewed available published and unpublished data on severity and dose with the aim to integrate this knowledge into risk assessment methods built on dose distribution modelling. On 15-16 September 2016, a stakeholder workshop was held in Brussels, Belgium, in order to reach a consensus on the likelihood that any given dose of a particular allergen would produce a reaction of a defined degree of severity. Alongside plenary talks on related initiatives pursued by EAACI, iFAAM and the multi-centre Peanut Allergen Threshold Study, the main outcomes of the expert group were discussed in break-out roundtable sessions. A total of 45 delegates attended the workshop, with participation of relevant stakeholder groups (16% health care practitioners, 29% industry experts, 11% regulatory experts, 18% scientists and risk assessors, 13% patient groups, 13% NGOs) including representatives of Health Canada, FARRP, US FDA, EFSA, EC JRC-IRMM, EAACI, UK FSA and other national food authorities.

Expected Output
The principal aim of the activity was to critically review evidence on the relationship between allergen dose (exposure) and the severity of reactions (outcome) and consider the extent to which severity could be integrated into quantitative risk assessments. The findings will soon be submitted for publication; they provide an evidence base that health practitioners can use to advise patients living with food allergies about management of their allergy. Likewise, food manufacturers and legislators are given further evidence on which to base decisions about precautionary allergen labelling and management of allergens in food businesses.

Expert Group Members

A Framework to Help Define an Appropriate Level of Protection for Consumers with Food Allergies – Ongoing


Review of Suitability of Analytical Methods for Measuring VITAL® Reference Doses for EU Allergens in Foodstuffs



Severity versus Dose with Respect to Allergic Reactions –
Completed

*New affiliation as of mid-August 2017: Rene Crevel Consulting

Publications

All Publications

The Role of Hazard- and Risk-Based Approaches in Ensuring Food Safety

Trends in Food Science & Technology. 2015;46(2) Part A:176-188. Supported by the following task forces: Emerging Microbiological Issues, Food Allergy, Food Intake Methodology, Novel Foods and Nanotechnology, Process Related Compounds and Natural Toxins, Risk Analysis in Food Microbiology, and Threshold of Toxicological Concern.

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