By Allergen Bureau

New Tool For Assessing The Allergen Risk Of Novel Foods 

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has designed and developed a software tool that can assess the risk of novel proteins for people with coeliac disease.  

People with coeliac disease are known to have either one or two receptor molecules—HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8—that effectively bind gluten proteins, causing the immune system to recognise and react to gluten in the diet.  

EFSA scientists have developed a mathematical model and an application called preDQ that can help predict how gluten from food will bind to the coeliac-triggering receptors HLA‐DQ2 and/or HLA‐DQ8, enabling pre-market evaluation of the safety of novel proteins from plants, animals, or microorganisms.   

While the tool is currently used by EFSA in its safety assessments of genetically modified plants for those with coeliac disease, it could be modified for use on any protein intended for the diet and applied in a range of allergenic food safety areas.  

See the EFSA website for more details.