The EFSA is currently working on a draft protocol for digestion studies in allergenicity assessment of GMO proteins. An interim period of two years is foreseen to find out if digestion is relevant for allergenicity assessment and if the proposed protocol works for this purpose. This was the perfect occasion to join forces of COST Action ImpARAS (Improved allergenicity risk assessment; www.imparas.eu) and Infogest (www.cost-infogest.eu).
On the 3rd of April ImpARAS and Infogest jointly organized a workshop on digestion in Rennes adjacent to the 5th International conference on Food Digestion (ICFD). 11 Scientist with different expertise (Clinicians, Immunologists, (Food) Biochemists, Analytical Chemists and gut/digestion experts) were invited for the meeting.
The overall aim of the workshop was to discuss 1) the relevance of digestion in allergenicity risk assessment, 2) whether a digestion model should be predictive or physiological relevant, 3) how should an ideal digestion model look like and 4) what the best readout would be?
The main outcome of the meeting was, that it is still not clear to what extend digestion is relevant for allergenicity. Unfortunately, concrete decisions on how to develop a digestion assay could not be made yet, since not all information needed was available (e.g. on the effect of matrix, pH, physiological condition in atopic person, relevance of sensitization route), but a first start was made to identify the current information gaps. The next step is to publish an opinion paper and to draft a research and collaboration plan.
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