Can we define a level of protection for allergic consumers that everyone can accept?


Substantial progress has been made in characterising the risk associated with exposure to allergens in food. However, absence of agreement on what risk is tolerable has made it difficult to set quantitative limits to manage that risk and protect allergic consumers effectively. This paper reviews scientific progress in the area and the diverse status of allergen management approaches and lack of common standards across different jurisdictions, including within the EU. This lack of regulation largely explains why allergic consumers find Precautionary Allergen Labelling confusing and cannot rely on it. We reviewed approaches to setting quantitative limits for a broad range of food safety hazards to identify the reasoning leading to their adoption. This revealed a diversity of approaches from pragmatic to risk-based, but we could not find clear evidence of the process leading to the decision on risk acceptability. We propose a framework built around the criteria suggested by Murphy and Gardoni (2008) for approaches to defining tolerable risks. Applying these criteria to food allergy, we concluded that sufficient knowledge exists to implement the framework, including sufficient expertise across the whole range of stakeholders to allow opinions to be heard and respected, and a consensus to be achieved.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Psychology
College of Health & Life Sciences
Additional Information: © 2020, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Uncontrolled Keywords: Decision framework,Food allergy,Risk assessment,Risk management,Tolerable risk,Toxicology
Publication ISSN: 1096-0295
Last Modified: 09 Jul 2024 07:09
Date Deposited: 18 Aug 2020 11:17
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Related URLs: https://www.sci ... 177X?via%3Dihub (Publisher URL)
http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2020-11
Published Online Date: 2020-08-05
Accepted Date: 2020-07-27
Authors: Madsen, Charlotte B
van den Dungen, Myrthe W
Cochrane, Stella
Houben, Geert F
Knibb, Rebecca C (ORCID Profile 0000-0001-5561-0904)
Knulst, André C
Ronsmans, Stefan
Yarham, Ross A R
Schnadt, Sabine
Turner, Paul J
Baumert, Joseph
Cavandoli, Elisa
Chan, Chun-Han
Warner, Amena
Crevel, René W R

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