Population risk assessment

When should the potential presence of an allergen be stated on the packaging and at what quantity can labeling be considered exaggerated? Should a product be recalled due to contamination? To be able to take a well-founded decision, quantitative information is required: how many consumers will have an undesirable allergic reaction and what is the nature and seriousness of such a reaction?

In collaboration with the University Medical Centre Utrecht and the Utrecht University (within the knowledge Center for Food Allergy – CFA) TNO has developed a method to quantitatively determine the health risks of several major allergens. This approach can estimate the risk of any allergic reaction based on food intake, concentration of allergenic food and the threshold doses from double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trials. Probabilistic modeling enables a calculation of the percentage of the population likely to have an allergic reaction to different concentrations of various allergens in a variety of products. Current efforts are focusing on refining the data and expanding to include other allergens.

  • Spanjersberg et al., Risk Assessment and food allergy: the probabilistic model applied to allergens, Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2007, 45:49-54
  • Kruizinga et al., Prababilistic risk assessment model for allergens in food: sensitivity analysis of the minimum eliciting dose and food consumption, Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2008, 46: 1437-1443
  • Madsen et al., Approaches to risk assessment in allergy: Report from a workshop ‘Developing a framework for assessing the risk from allergenic foods. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2009:47;480-4889