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Food allergies – Leaving no one behind

Food safety technical toolkit for Asia and the Pacific No. 4









Last updated date 22/02/2022, see corrigendum


FAO. 2021. Food allergies – Leaving no one behind. Food safety technical toolkit for Asia and the Pacific No. 4. Bangkok.


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    Book (series)
    Risk Assessment of Food Allergens. Part 1: Review and validation of Codex Alimentarius priority allergen list through risk assessment
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    The labelling of food allergens in pre-packaged foods plays a key role in protecting food allergic individuals, as no preventative clinical treatment is currently available. The list of major foods and ingredients known to cause hypersensitivity was included into the Codex General Standard for the Labelling of Packaged Foods (GSLPF) in 1999. There have been many scientific developments in the understanding of food allergens and their management since the original drafting of the GSLPF. Thus, in response to the request from Codex for scientific advice, including current evidence of consumer understanding of allergens, FAO and WHO convened a series of three expert meetings to provide scientific advice on this subject. The purpose of the first meeting of the Ad hoc Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Risk Assessment of Food Allergens was to review and validate the Codex priority allergen list through risk assessment. This report focuses on the deliberations and conclusions of this meeting.
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    The Codex Committee on Food Labelling (CCFL) requested scientific advice as to whether certain foods and ingredients, such as highly refined foods and ingredients, that are derived from the list of foods known to cause hypersensitivity can be exempted from mandatory declaration. The objective of this fourth meeting was to expand on the recommendations from the first meeting concerning derivatives of food allergens and establish a framework for evaluating exemptions for food allergens.A pro forma process has been developed and tested against allergen derivatives previously granted exemptions in various countries or regions and found to be effective for consideration in future exemption decisions. The Expert Committee recommends that the process outlined in the pro forma process be used to guide any future development and evaluation of derivative exemptions. Establishment of safety based upon this weight of evidence approach is dependent upon consideration of data quality, outcome of the exposure assessment for all intended ingredient uses (specified for exemption) and review by competent authorities (as needed). When safety is established, exemption can be justified.
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    Book (series)
    Risk Assessment of Food Allergens. Part 2: Review and establish threshold levels in foods for the priority allergens 2022
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    Knowledge of thresholds constitutes a critical requirement to assessing the risk from allergens, as they are a characteristic of the hazard that allergens present to the food-allergic population. FAO and WHO reconvened the Ad hoc Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Risk Assessment of Food Allergens for a second meeting to provide scientific advice on review and establish threshold levels in foods for the priority allergens. The expert committee concurred that the benchmark dose/probabilistic hazard assessment approach aligned most closely with the requests of the Codex Committees. After extensive discussion, the expert committee reached a consensus on reference doses (RfD) for priority allergenic foods, meeting the criterion for HBGV that they should reflect a range of exposure without appreciable health risk.

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