GLOBAL – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) Expert Committee on Food Allergens have in their their fifth meeting set new threshold for specific allergens.

This assembly, responsible for establishing allergic threshold values for various allergens, expanded their scope to include soy, celery, lupin, mustard, buckwheat, oats, and specific tree nuts (Brazil nut, Macadamia nut, and pine nut).

The committee utilized a consistent, risk-based approach akin to their previous meetings to determine the allergen thresholds. These thresholds, measured in milligrams per total protein from the allergenic source, are crucial in shaping international standards and guidelines.

The established reference doses (RfD) for various allergens have been outlined to ensure the safety of consumers with food allergies.

Celery has an RfD of 1 mg, indicating the permissible limit for individuals sensitive to this allergen. Similarly, Brazil nut, Macadamia nut, Pine nut, and Mustard each have an RfD of 1 mg, highlighting the careful consideration needed for individuals allergic to these ingredients.

Lupin and Buckwheat, allergens present in certain foods, have a higher RfD of 10 mg, emphasizing the need for cautious consumption.

However, Oat does not have a specific RfD due to concerns about cross-contact with other grains.

Acknowledging this, the committee opted for a pragmatic strategy, focusing on the broader issue of cross-contamination.

To this end, extra vigilance for individuals with oat allergies is necessary to avoid potential risks.

These reference doses serve as essential guidelines, ensuring that individuals with food allergies can make informed choices and prevent adverse reactions.

This comprehensive approach is an essential stride toward safeguarding the health of individuals prone to severe allergic reactions.

The consideration given to a wider array of allergens underscores the committee’s dedication to ensuring the well-being of consumers globally.

Crucially, these recommendations will not exist in isolation. The Codex Alimentarius, an international food standards body, will employ the committee’s findings to inform the development, revision, and implementation of global food safety standards.

This harmonized approach is vital in guaranteeing consistency and coherence in food regulations across borders.

With these new thresholds, the FAO/WHO Expert Committee has not only expanded the scope of allergens under consideration but has also fortified the foundation upon which international food safety standards are built.

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