A Partner’s perspective on the Shared Research Program Food Allergy: Danone

The Shared Research Program (SRP) Food Allergy currently has 8 partners. Danone joined the Shared Research Program Food Allergy in 2016, specifically on the topic of immune health, which is addressed in program lines 3A and 3B. Now at the end of the first year of the SRP lines 3, we asked the Danone team on their experience so far.

Argument for joining the SRP

“Danone is specifically interested in expanding the current scientific knowledge surrounding immune development and how to assess the impact of nutritional immune interventions in early life. At the same time EFSA has established a guidance for the safety assessment of substances in foods for infants <16 weeks of age. This guidance does not yet provide detail about which pathways and parameters are important to consider. With the SRP Food Allergy, we hope to gain more scientific understanding, so that they can use these insights for future product innovations.”

Experience so far

“We anticipated that the topic of immune health in early life would be very difficult to address, because of the lack of data specifically in very young infants. We will need to find solutions to fill some data gaps, by using bioinformatics approaches or generating new data. In our opinion, this is the way to move forward. We have already had fruitful discussions and are further developing the research program. We made a start with the systems biology approach, highlighting key genes that appear to be important in different pathways of immune endpoints; at the moment, this is based on adult data. In addition, we have been in contact with key stakeholders like EFSA. We look forward to continue the activities that we have started within this exciting research program”

Call to action for other infant nutrition companies

“The immune health topic is key for infant nutrition industry, as it clarifies how to investigate the impact assessment of novel nutritional immune interventions in such a young and vulnerable population. The more parties who are involved, the stronger the basis for general acceptance of the approach. It is important to contribute as industry, to make sure that it’s possible to translate scientific insights into nutrition that will meet real healthcare needs. Therefore, we hope that in the course of this research program more parties will join forces with us.”