SRP research in Line 1 ‘Allergen and allergy management’

The overall goal of SRP program line 1 is to fill in major research gaps that hamper the global application and implementation of a quantitative guidance for precautionary labelling by food companies. Two years ago TNO and the partners agreed to several key research topics: food consumption patterns for allergen risk assessment, estimation of allergen contamination in food production, and ranking severity of food allergic reactions. The results of this research will support food companies in their allergen management and thereby support allergic patients in safe food choices.

Food companies always question which food consumption data to use in allergen risk assessment and management. To support this choice, TNO develops dedicated food consumption databases. At present, the products in the food consumption databases of the United States and Australia are converted for use in allergen risk assessment and management. Prior, TNO converted data from European consumers. Another important lack in our knowledge is to which extend this consumption information can be applied to the food allergic patient group. We therefore are currently running a food consumption study with food allergic patients in collaboration with the University Medical Center of Utrecht and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) to investigate if the consumption of products by the food allergic population is comparable to the general population. The first results of this 2 year study are expected end of this 2018.

In other parts of the program line a model is developed that quantifies the possible contamination with food allergen particulates in food production for the purpose of risk assessment and risk management. The first version of the model is expected end of this year for initial test application in a production. TNO previously developed a similar model for dry food production. Overall, our activities are aimed at improving implementation of quantitative risk assessment and management for food companies and acceptance by different stakeholders.