Allergenic risks of novel foods

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Author: Anita Maczó

 

One of the basic requirements of food industry innovations is to guarantee the safety of the products. Therefore, novel foods may be marketed in the European Union only after authorization based on a broad safety assessment. For the safety of consumers with  ood allergies, this assessment includes the investigation of the potential allergenic effects of new products. The currently available risk assessment strategy, which is based on the methodology used for the allergenic risk assessment of genetically modified plants, has been applied successfully in the case of novel foods where there was a risk if an allergenic effect, because of their protein content. The current strategy can be used in cases where the source of the protein is known, however, the unexpected allergenic effects of new protein sources cannot always be estimated. Recently, new directions in development have emerged, which have been used successfully in certain studies, e.g., in the investigation of the allergenic effects of insect proteins. This article summarizes the difficulties of the methodology and the efforts to overcome them, and shows examples of the allergenic risk assessment of already authorized novel foods and food ingredients.

2. Introduction

Due to the global population growth, providing food to the world’s population will already be a great challenge in the near future. For this reason, to ensure our protein supply is of utmost importance, one solution to which could be the use of certain alternative and sustainable protein sources (e.g., rape seed or insects). However, the introduction of new proteins into the food chain may present new, unexpected allergenic risks to the growing number of people with allergies. While allergic diseases pose a public health problem, the prediction of allergenic risks is a challenge for researchers.

 

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