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Food allergy and intolerance research

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

The food industry’s provision of allergen information to consumers

This study explored the current provision of information on allergenic ingredients by food businesses to consumers for non-prepacked food, and how this has changed since legislative changes came into force in 2014. The study also provides a new baseline on information provided for food prepacked for direct sale (PPDS).

Development of a Food Recall Prevention Platform

This project aims to reduce food allergy alerts by developing a software to help food businesses ensure accurate declaration of food allergens. It will provide a systematic determination of undeclared food allergens to enable food businesses to improve their food allergen management and enhance food traceability along the supply chain.

PIFA: Revisiting the UK EuroPrevall cohort

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.

Patterns and Prevalence of Adult Food Allergy

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.

EU FIC allergen legislation research (February 2015)

Research tracking awareness EU Food Information for Consumers (FIC) allergen information regulations before and after they came into force in December 2014. The regulations concern how allergy information is displayed on prepackaged and loose food as well as how it is provided in restaurants, takeaways and all eating establishments.

Quantitative risk assessment of food products cross-contaminated with allergens

This project aimed to investigate the public health risks posed by the levels of unintended allergens found to be present in foods sampled and tested as part of the FSA funded survey of allergen advisory labelling (project FS241038) using a quantitative risk assessment approach based on probabilistic principles.

The effect of extrinsic factors on food allergy

This was a randomised cross-over trial that investigated 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.

Further data analysis of the EAT study

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.

Literature review of the nutritional adequacy of a typical gluten-free diet

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