Identifying key priorities for research to protect the consumer with food hypersensitivity:a UK Food Standards Agency Priority Setting Exercise


Introduction: Food hypersensitivity (FHS), including food allergy, coeliac disease and food intolerance, is a major public health issue. The Food Standards Agency (FSA), an independent UK Government department working to protect public health and consumers’ wider interests in food, sought to identify research priorities in the area of FHS. Methods: A priority setting exercise was undertaken, using a methodology adapted from the James Lind Alliance—the first such exercise with respect to food hypersensitivity. A UK-wide public consultation was held to identify unanswered research questions. After excluding diagnostics, desensitization treatment and other questions which were out of scope for FSA or where FSA was already commissioning research, 15 indicative questions were identified and prioritized by a range of stakeholders, representing food businesses, patient groups, health care and academia, local authorities and the FSA. Results: 295 responses were received during the public consultation, which were categorized into 70 sub-questions and used to define 15 key evidence uncertainties (‘indicative questions’) for prioritization. Using the JLA prioritization framework, this resulted in 10 priority uncertainties in evidence, from which 16 research questions were developed. These could be summarized under the following 5 themes: communication of allergens both within the food supply chain and then to the end consumer (ensuring trust in allergen communication); the impact of socio-economic factors on consumers with FHS; drivers of severe reactions; mechanism(s) underlying loss of tolerance in FHS; and the risks posed by novel allergens/processing. Discussion: In this first research prioritization exercise for food allergy and FHS, key priorities identified to protect the food-allergic public were strategies to help allergic consumers to make confident food choices, prevention of FHS and increasing understanding of socio-economic impacts. Diagnosis and treatment of FHS was not considered in this prioritization.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Psychology
College of Health & Life Sciences
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors. Clinical & Experimental Allergy published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Funding: This work was funded by the UK Food Standards Agency.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Allergen labelling,coeliac disease,food allergy,James Lind Alliance,research prioritisation
Publication ISSN: 1365-2222
Last Modified: 14 May 2024 07:26
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2021 14:42
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: https://onlinel ... .1111/cea.13983 (Publisher URL)
http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2021-10
Published Online Date: 2021-07-07
Accepted Date: 2021-07-01
Authors: Turner, Paul J.
Andoh‐Kesson, Elizabeth
Baker, Sarah
Baracaia, Alexa
Barfield, Alisha
Barnett, Julie
Brunas, Karen
Chan, Chun‐Han
Cochrane, Stella
Cowan, Katherine
Feeney, Mary
Flanagan, Simon
Fox, Adam
George, Leigh
Gowland, M. Hazel
Heeley, Christina
Kimber, Ian
Knibb, Rebecca (ORCID Profile 0000-0001-5561-0904)
Langford, Kirsty
Mackie, Alan
McLachlan, Tim
Regent, Lynne
Ridd, Matthew
Roberts, Graham
Rogers, Adrian
Scadding, Guy
Stoneham, Sarah
Thomson, Darryl
Urwin, Heidi
Venter, Carina
Walker, Michael
Ward, Rachel
Yarham, Ross
Young, Maggie
O’Brien, John



Version: Accepted Version

Access Restriction: Restricted to Repository staff only


Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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