Food allergy and intolerance research --

The Food Allergy and Intolerance Research Programme aims to investigate the causes and mechanisms underlying food allergy and intolerance.

The programme is currently funding research under a number of key themes of work, outlined below:

  • Development of management thresholds for allergenic foods
  • Route and timing of exposure to food allergens in early life
  • Immunological aspects of food allergy
  • Prevalence and characteristics of food allergy and intolerance
  • Food allergen labelling and consumer choice research
  • Evaluation of FSA allergy guidance

Major aims include facilitating the development of allergen management thresholds for use by industry and regulators and identifying risk factors associated with the development of food allergy so that appropriate information can be provided for consumers. In addition the programme also focuses on understanding consumer attitudes to food allergy and intolerance and its labelling.

Research projects related to the programme

This project is revisiting the UK EuroPrevall birth cohort which involves reassessing the same cohort at 8-9 years as part of the larger iFAAM (Integrated Approaches to Food Allergen & Allergy Risk Management) project.
Background Food allergy and other allergic diseases such as asthma, hay fever and eczema, affect about a third of children in the UK.
The main aim of this project is to undertake additional analyses using existing datasets generated from the FSA-funded Prevalence in Infant Food Allergy (PIFA) study. These analyses will then be used to produce a comprehensive peer reviewed publication on the incidence and risk factors associated with the development of food allergy in UK infants.
Background
This project has been set up to provide a step-change in our understanding of food allergy in adulthood by determining its prevalence in the adult population. It will provide data to allow the trajectories of the condition in relation to both persistent allergy from childhood and adult-onset food allergy to be described, together with adverse reactions to foods that are not mediated by IgE.
Background A robust evidence base regarding the prevalence of adverse reactions, their patterns and risk factors for their development is required to underpin the development of effective policies seeking to manage, preve
This study aims to find out the processes involved in the developing of an immune system that leads to the development of oral tolerance (as opposed to allergy) to peanuts.
Background Peanut allergy affects up to 1 in 50 children in the UK.
This project investigates the public health risks posed by the levels of unintended allergens found in foods sampled and tested as part of the FSA-funded survey of allergen advisory labelling (project FS241038). A quantitative risk assessment approach based on probabilistic principles is used.
Background The current regulatory framework within the European Union mandates the declaration of 14 allergens which are deliberately added as ingredients.
This is a randomised cross-over trial that will investigate whether common extrinsic factors, such as exercise and sleep deprivation can modulate the threshold of responses to allergenic foods in a representative group of adults from the peanut allergic population.
Background It is known there is significant intra-individual variation in the severity of food allergic reactions following exposure to the same amount of allergen on different occasions.
An online survey of young people (16-24-year-olds) and their experiences of managing a food allergy/intolerance
Background We led research on young people with food allergies and intolerances to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges young people face living with their condition. 
Results available
The EAT data analysis project was funded to further explore the EAT study dataset, by investigating whether the introduction of solids has an impact on sleep behaviour of infants. It was also to further understand the factors that impact on the ability of infants’ families to follow an early food introduction regime.
Background The Enquiring About Tolerance (EAT) study was commissioned to investigate the best time to introduce allergenic foods into the infant diet in order to minimise the risk of development of allergic disease later
Results available
The joint project with Defra is needed to provide baseline evidence on the current UK food labelling and consumer information requirements ahead of the introduction of the forthcoming EU Food Information to Consumers Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011.
BackgroundThe aim of the research is to gather evidence on a UK basis regarding:
Stage I of the study (completed August 2013) aimed to assess the current baseline level of allergen information provided for loose (not pre-packed) foods. Stage II of the study (completed March 2014) further explored the levels of understanding of the new requirements and the challenges businesses anticipate in complying with these.
BackgroundThe European Union Food Information for Consumers Regulation No 1169/2011 comes into force from 13 December 2014.
Results available
Systematic Review C assesses the evidence available on the influence of dietary exposures during pregnancy, lactation and/or infancy.
Atopic conditions, including asthma, eczema and food allergy, appear to have increased in prevalence in recent decades in many countries, and are some of the most common causes of chronic illness in children and young adults living in the UK.
Results available
Research was carried out to explore reactions towards new EU legislation relating to the labelling on products marketed to individuals who follow a gluten-free diet.
BackgroundThe research was undertaken to understand how effective the labelling terms 'Gluten-Free' and 'Very Low Gluten' will be, any i
Results available
This research aimed to establish whether the diet of UK consumers with coeliac disease, is nutritionally adequate and whether there was a need for specific dietary advice or other strategies to ensure that these consumers can maintain a nutritionally adequate diet whilst avoiding gluten containing cereals
Results available
This research aimed to explore consumer, health professional and other relevant stakeholders’ understanding of the draft revised Government advice on peanut consumption during early life.
Results available
This systematic review assesses the evidence available on the influence of the timing of introduction of allergenic foods into the infant diet on the development of atopic and autoimmune disease, such as eczema, asthma and food allergy.
BackgroundAtopic conditions, including asthma, eczema and food allergy, appear to have increased in prevalence in recent decades in many
Results available
This project was carried out to explore understanding of the terms ‘lactose free’, ‘milk free’ and ‘dairy free’ among consumers with a sensitivity to milk or milk components, health professionals who advise such consumers and food businesses who provide products for these consumers.
BackgroundThere are currently no EU-wide rules on the use of claims to indicate the absence or reduction of lactose in foods.
Results available
This research reviewed all published scientific literature relevant to safe threshold amounts of gluten in foods in order to determine if it was possible to propose a threshold concentration of gluten in food products that would be tolerated by all people with coeliac disease.
BackgroundCoeliac disease is a life-long autoimmune disease caused by intolerance to gluten, a protein found predominantly in wheat, bar
Results available
This study aimed to find out whether abnormal skin barrier function predates and predicts food allergen sensitisation and whether the link between skin barrier function and food allergen sensitisation is driven by loss-of-function mutations in the FLG (Filaggrin) protein.
BackgroundA significant recent development in the science of food allergy has been recognition that food allergen sensitisation (the pre
Results available
A review of the Food Intolerance Research Programme was held on 19 - 21 February 2008 at the Castle hotel in Windsor.
SummaryEach Programme of research commissioned by our organisation is reviewed every 5 years to evaluate its success and productivity.
A review of the food allergy and intolerance research programme took place during 19-21 November 2012 at the De Vere hotel, Wokefield Park. The report is available.
SummaryOur organisation has a large food allergy and intolerance research programme, which was originally set up in 1994 by, what was th
Results available
Over 60 leading research scientists and clinicians with expertise in food allergy and relevant areas participated in the Adult Food Allergy Workshop which was held at the Royal Society, London.
Our organisation convened a workshop co-sponsored by BSACI in March 2014.
Results available
A study of immunological mechanisms underlying the resolution of food allergy, specifically egg allergy, was undertaken to improve our understanding of the pathogenesis of food allergy. It also allows for more accurate and improved advice to be provided by healthcare professionals to individuals with an egg allergy.
BackgroundThe immunological mechanisms that induce clinical allergy or resolution are not well established and need further investigatio
Results available
This research project aims to describe the clinical characteristics of allergy to kiwi in adults and children.
BackgroundKiwi fruit allergy is increasing in frequency but there is very little information on the characteristics of this relatively n
Results available
The survey examined the type of allergen advisory labelling present on pre-packed processed foods sold in the UK, and aimed to quantify the level of allergens resulting from cross-contamination and establish whether the type of advisory labelling used related to the level of allergen present.
BackgroundThe current regulatory framework within the European Union mandates the declaration of 14 allergens as constituent ingredients
Results available
This project investigated the prevalence of food allergies and the current infant weaning practices adopted by mothers in the UK.
Background There is currently a lack of reliable data on the actual, as opposed to reported, prevalence of food allergies in the UK, es
Results available