The Agency has a large Food Allergy & Intolerance Research Programme (~£1million/year), which was originally set up in 1994 by what was then the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF), to investigate the causes and mechanisms of severe food allergy, with emphasis on peanut allergy, in order to reduce the incidence and severity.
Since that time the Programme has evolved, informed by a formal Programme Review in 2003, to incorporate funding of research projects in other areas of relevance to Agency policy needs on food allergy and intolerance. This includes the prevalence of food allergy in the UK, identifying risk factors associated with the development of food allergy, and research to review evidence on thresholds for sensitivity to gluten in the context of coeliac disease.
The purpose of the review earlier this year was to evaluate the projects that have together made up the Programme since 2003, in terms of their scientific quality, relevance to Agency policy needs, and value for money, and to determine whether these projects have addressed the aims and objectives of the Programme. An additional aim of the review was to consider the future direction of the Programme and priority areas for Agency research in food allergy and intolerance for the next 5 years, in order to support Agency policy needs in the future.