By Allergen Bureau

How To Improve ‘May Contain’ Allergen Labelling  

Internationally renowned allergy and immunology expert, Dr Paul Turner, has called for global food allergy clinicians to “team up and share data” in order to help improve precautionary allergen labelling.  

In an editorial published in the European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Dr Turner and his colleague Associate Professor Thomas Eiwegger outlined the recommendations of the Expert Committee convened by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO).  

Precautionary allergen labelling should only be used where the risk for unintended allergen presence exceeds the defined reference dose for that allergen, despite Good Manufacturing Practice and risk management measures taken.  

The editorial provides a table summarising the current defined reference dose for each allergen, where these have been informed primarily by ED05. ED05 is the dose of allergenic protein that would be expected to elicit an objective allergic reaction in 5 per cent of the population allergic to that specific allergen.  

The article explains differences in publications by Moritz et al and the conclusions drawn from the TNO/FARRP data base and considers possible explanations. 

Drs Turner and Eiwegger ask that clinicians with appropriate and well-procured oral food challenge datasets (obtained using standardised protocols with well-defined amounts of food protein) make their data available for analysis, to further strengthen conclusions and assist patient management.

Reference: Turner, P.J. and Eiwegger, T. (2024), Improving “may contain” labels: A call to team up and share data. Allergy. DOI: 10.1111/all.16012. Available with Open Access.