By Allergen Bureau

Expert Guidance for Food Allergen Risk Assessment

The ILSI Europe Expert Group (EG) on food allergen quantitative risk assessment (QRA) has been working towards achieving consensus on the methods needed for allergen QRAs by food business operators, and their implementation. The EG have now published an introduction to allergen QRA and an overview of inputs potentially needed for different QRA methods.

Food allergen risk assessment (RA) is the use of information on the characteristics of unintended allergen presence in food to estimate the likelihood and nature of potential adverse effects experienced by consumers with food allergy, due to levels of food allergens present in the consumed final product.

Quantitative risk assessment (QRA) of unintentional presence of food allergens provides information needed to make decisions about subsequent management practices. This includes the interpretation of analytical findings, handling of potential food recalls and the careful use of precautionary allergen labelling. Allergen QRA exists in many different forms with different requirements placed on the risk assessor depending on the question that needs to be answered.

Areas of focus in the recent paper 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. This is a follow-up to the published outcomes of a workshop held in October 2020 and will itself be followed by more detailed guidance for allergen QRA to be published open access as an ILSI Europe report.

Reference: Remington et al. 2022. Food Control. DOI: 10.1016/j.foodcont.2022.108917