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Allergy Cluster

AimFood labels

To explore problems and opportunities presented by food allergy including varying the allergenic nature of foods, risk management (including allergen monitoring), allergen-free foods, and emerging beneficial effects of microbes.

Rationale

Food allergies are an emerging concern for the consumer, regulators and the food industry. Around 1-2% of adults and 5% of children have IgE-mediated allergies, a small proportion of whom can suffer severe, life-threatening reactions to tiny amounts of a problem food. In response to this a new food labelling directive has been developed by the EU which makes labelling of 12 defined allergenic foods and derived ingredients mandatory. This poses new challenges to the food industry regarding allergen hazard management.

Food allergies also present new opportunities to the food industry to deliver authentic allergen-free products and the potential beneficial effects of microbes, such as lactic acid bacteria, for food allergies.

Combining the practical experience of the industrial Cluster members with the fundamental research knowledge of IFR will give new insights into these challenges and opportunities.

Who Attends?

Food producers and packers, manufacturers, retailers and caterers who are involved in allergen identification and risk management, particularly in response to recent EU legislation.

Food and biotech industry members interested in developing novel means of modulating allergic responses, including oral vaccination strategies.

IFR Skill Base Underlying the Cluster

IFR is at the heart of international research activities in the area of food allergy. We are leading an EU integrated project on food allergy bringing together around 50 industrial and research organisations from across Europe.

The F&HN Allergy Cluster draws on this expertise in:

  • Fundamental immunology studying the mechanisms of food allergy
  • Allergenic food components, their traceability and the impact of food processing and food structure on allergenicity
  • Lactic acid bacteria and microbial/immune system interactions

It is also underpinned by expertise in consumer behaviour and quantitative risk assessment.

Cluster activities

  • Workshops to inform industry about the nature of allergies and allergens, and recent policy developments
  • Development of collaborative research projects of direct relevance to industrial needs

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