By Allergen Bureau

Global experts release advice on food allergen management

In early 2020, the FAO and WHO jointly established an Expert Consultation on Risk Assessment of Food Allergens. This global group, made up of scientists, regulators, physicians, clinicians and risk managers from academia, government, and the food industry, was formed to provide specific scientific advice on three aspects of food allergen management. The Allergen Bureau was excited that all six members of the current VITAL Scientific Expert Panel joined this expert consultation.

The ternary purpose of the group is to:

  1. Validate and update the list of foods and ingredients in section of the General Standard for the Labelling of Packaged Foods (GSLPF) based on risk assessment,
  2. Establish threshold levels in foods of the priority allergens, and
  3. Evaluate the evidence in support of precautionary labelling.

In December 2020, the Expert Committee held their first meeting to review and validate the Codex priority allergen list, based on prevalence, severity of reaction and potency.  The key points of the discussions and outcomes of this meeting have been published in a summary report that can be downloaded here.

At a second meeting, held in March/April 2021, the Expert Committee sought to establish threshold levels in foods of the priority allergens. The summary and conclusions of this meeting were issued in August and are available here.

A third meeting is scheduled to take place in October 2021 to review and establish precautionary labelling in foods of the priority allergens. Further information about this forthcoming meeting can be accessed here.

The Allergen Bureau are keeping abreast of developments from the expert panel and will review any potential impact the recommendations may have on the VITAL Program.