From Saturday 17th to Wednesday 21th of June the yearly EAACI conference was organized in Helsinki, Finland. EAACI is an abbreviation for European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. The latest scientific work on allergy (e.g. eczema, food allergy and asthma) were presented at this conference which was visited by over 8000 participants from industry, hospitals, and academia. TNO was represented by Marty Blom, Kitty Verhoeckx and Bas Kremer.
Marty Blom gave two presentations on the food products and levels of non-ingredient allergens in unexpected allergic reactions of adult food allergic patients in daily life. Data were generated previously in a study that was performed by TNO in collaboration with the University Medical Center Utrecht and funded by the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority. It was found that a very diverse range of products was responsible for unexpected allergic reactions. Presence of one or more culprit allergens was confirmed in more than 1/3 of analyzed products, with highest concentrations of milk, peanut and sesame. Intakes of culprit allergens were compared to the reference doses for guidance on precautionary warning as proposed by Taylor et al in Food and Chemical Toxicology 2014. The intake of at least one allergen per product exceeded the reference dose or a culprit allergen with a yet unknown reference dose was present. This let us to conclude that if precautionary warnings would have been based on reference doses and allergic consumers would have followed the advice, accidental allergic reactions might have been prevented. Marty Blom was invited to present this topic also at the Business Meeting of the Patients Organizations Committee. An enthusiastic and participating audience of representatives of different countries responded with a lively discussion on among others the further steps needed for implementation of a quantitative guidance for precautionary warning.
Kitty Verhoeckx presented that mealworm allergy in shrimp allergic patients is indicative for allergies to other insects, since IgE binding and functional IgE binding was seen for all tested insects and that all insect extracts contain tropomyosin and arginine kinase (pan allergens in crustaceans). Primary sensitized mealworm allergic patients with no shrimp allergy did not react to all tested insects. This indicates that it is not likely that they will get a food allergic reactions to all other insects.
Also other projects, where TNO was involved in, were presented, among others:
Dr André Knulst of the University Medical Center Utrecht presented the results of the allergenicity assessment of mealworms. It was shown that shrimp but possibly also house dust mite patients will react to mealworm when consumed. Also primary sensitization to mealworm is seen. Daniel Lozano presented the Adverse Outcome Pathway of food allergy, a paper written by Working Group 2 of the ImpARAS consortium, led by TNO.