- Publication date : 2022-05-01
Allergen action levels for food industries as risk management tools for a better use of precautionary Allergen labelling (2022). Food Control, 135, 108773
Providing guidance to generate allergen action levels for food industries is important to assess the need for precautionary allergen labelling (PAL). Allergen action levels (in mg of allergen per kg of food commodity) were computed based on the eliciting dose (ED) of each selected allergen divided by consumption distribution data. Canadian consumption data was extracted from the Canadian Community Health Survey of 2015, representative of the general Canadian population. High-risk food categories selected included baked goods, baking mixes, bread products, candies, cereal products, chocolate products, cookies, energy bars, sauces, savory biscuits, and snacks. The ED inducing an allergic reaction in 1% and 5% of the allergic population (ED01, ED05) for nine allergens (milk, egg, peanut, hazelnut, cashew, walnut, wheat, sesame, soy) were extracted from Houben et al., 2020. Action levels for the median (P50), 75th and 97.5th percentile consumption (P75, P97.5) of any food category investigated could be detected by commercial allergen detection kits when the ED05 was used. The P75 and ED05 were preferred to determine action levels because they were less conservative and more flexible. Allergen action levels set for use by food business operators (FBOs) as risk management tools in Canada would help standardize PAL use and make PALs more meaningful for Canadian FBOs and consumers. These values must be interpreted considering their limitations and assumptions and should accompany all efforts of prevention and management of allergen cross-contact.