Research advancements on the sensitivity of the food allergic population

In the past 2 years, TNO and FARRP jointly worked hard to further advance the research on the sensitivity of the food allergic population and make steps forward towards harmonized food allergy risk assessment and risk management.

With an international group of experts, TNO Scientist Joost Westerhout set up a framework that guides food challenge data interpretation with over 90 examples and different scenarios for determining individual allergic thresholds. The publication is available in the November issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

In collaboration with Dr. Matthew Wheeler of the US CDC – National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health a model averaging method was developed to combine all knowledge regarding threshold dose distributions based on goodness-of-fit and create an “averaged” distribution for the type of data that we are dealing with. This method is now ready and submitted for publication. The model averaging R-package is available online at  for anyone to use in modeling their threshold data.

N ew threshold data were collected and a new version of our allergen threshold database with around 3500 data points is now in place. Sufficient data are now available for Eliciting Dose distribution modelling for 14 allergenic foods: egg, hazelnut, lupin, milk, mustard, peanut, sesame, shrimp, soy, wheat, cashew, celery, fish and walnut. Using the model averaging methodology, TNO and FARRP have carried out new ED value calculations which will be submitted for publication soon.

The methodology and new data were discussed in the VITAL Scientific Expert Panel of which TNO is a member, and led to the new recommended Reference doses for the Allergen Bureau VITAL  Program: VITAL3.0.

For the next phase residual risks associated with the use of action levels based on reference doses will be characterized, and we aim to publish full ED-distribution data for the 14 priority allergenic foods and recommendations for use in risk quantification.