The International Life Sciences Institute Europe (ILSI Europe) Food Allergy Task Force has published 3 papers in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology that discuss advances in the risk management processes for the presence of unintentional allergens in food. A useful summary of each paper, plus links to the publications has been prepared by The European Food Information Council (EUFIC), as outlined below.
This paper concludes that optimal protection for allergic consumers is provided by precautionary labelling based on quantitative action levels. Such an approach is supported by the growing amount of data on minimum eliciting doses, plus developments in risk assessment methodologies such as probabilistic modelling. Any new precautionary labelling scheme requires agreement from all stakeholders, as well as education of consumers and health professionals to ensure full understanding of the scheme.
The risk from unintentional presence of allergens in food products must be assessed before it can be managed effectively. The risk can be assessed using probabilistic modelling and this paper discusses the strengths and limitations of such an approach.
As a result of widespread use of precautionary ‘may contain’ type food allergen labels, these are often mistrusted and ignored by allergic consumers. The third paper in the ILSI Europe series outlines a risk analysis framework that can underpin decision-making in the area of precautionary allergen labelling due to allergen cross-contact. The authors identify challenges relevant to each component of the risk analysis framework and stress the importance of clear, consistent and trustworthy communications to ensure all stakeholders have confidence in the process and the resulting food labelling strategy.