GLOBAL – The joint ad hoc FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Concern Assessment of Food Allergens has resolved that EDO5 is a suitable threshold to safeguard allergic consumers against anaphylaxis.

The experts held the second of several sessions on food allergens to address the question of “How much is too much,” intending to determine the quantity of food allergens that can pose a risk to allergic people.

Low dosages of food allergens may not cause a reaction in some allergic people, but they may in others who do suffer from tingling or itching, and a few may even develop severe reactions. The uncommon but potentially fatal anaphylaxis is a concern.

Experts with collective knowledge from the fields of immunological research, academia, the private sector, government, and clinical practice gathered as part of an ad hoc Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Risk Assessment of Food Allergens to establish the amount or level of several priority food allergens that are not anticipated to cause appreciable health risks among the majority of consumers.

It was agreed that the Reference Dose (RfD), which is an index or range of the highest amount of an allergen that, in a portion of patients who are allergic, does not even cause mild objective allergic symptoms, should be based on health and comply with the established definition of health-based guidance values.

Experts at this meeting agreed that, in contrast to earlier methods, a sophisticated statistical method called the “benchmark dose/probabilistic hazard assessment technique” was the most appropriate for determining Reference Doses (RfD) for this meeting.

The experts then concentrated their efforts on the amount of allergen that would elicit a discernible clinical response in a certain subset of the population, for example, reactions in five or one percent of exposed allergic individuals.

These allergen concentrations are referred to as population-based eliciting doses (EDs) and might be represented as ED05 or ED01, respectively, denoting amounts that cause reactions in 5% or 1% of the population.

The committee refined their assessment using the most recent scientific literature as well as clinical data from trials with allergic patients to arrive at these figures.

When the effects of threshold-based EDs were examined from a health perspective, the experts concluded that the total number of mild to moderate illnesses was predicted to vary depending on whether an ED01 or an ED05 was used as the threshold, but the anticipated severity of anaphylactic reactions remained constant.

As a result, the experts resolved that the ED05 was a suitable level to safeguard the majority of consumers against anaphylaxis.

Assessing the hazards from allergens requires a critical understanding of thresholds, says FAO. For the deployment of evidence-based risk management and mitigation strategies, the threshold determination is equally crucial.

According to FAO, this work reflects a development in the knowledge of the doses of food allergens that cause sickness by using these updated methodologies, taking into account the most recent research, and a wider scope of data than what was previously available.

The organization notes that the method used is important because it may be used to undertake quantitative risk assessments for allergies that are common on a nationwide or regional level, including new or emerging allergens.

“This work specifically contributes to scientific evidence upon which recommendations can be made to help protect individuals from severe food-associated allergenic reactions,” says FAO.

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