Central research question/aim
According to European consumer protection legislation, 14 food ingredients that can possibly cause allergic reactions must be listed on food product packaging. Compliance with and enforcement of this legislation is complicated by several problems with the detection of allergens (impact food processing, variability and inaccuracy of existing methods, lack of analytical standards, …) and the lack of scientifically substantiated threshold levels. The aim of this project is to develop a reference method for the detection and quantification of allergens and to generate scientifically substantiated data which allow the determination of threshold levels.
At ILVO’s Food Pilot, several food products containing different concentrations of diverse allergens are produced. We use these products and other, already available material to develop and validate a quantitative LC-MS/MS method. We draw on the knowledge and expertise of the different project partners regarding detection of food allergens with LC-MS/MS. For the second objective of the project, data concerning “oral food challenges” from previous projects is merged into a publicly accessible database. From this database threshold values can be determined. Furthermore, consensus protocols are drafted to support future harmonization of data collection.
All results of the project (LC-MS/MS method, consensus protocols, database oral food challenge tests) are transferred to the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA). Further dissemination of the new analytical strategy is foreseen through publication in peer-reviewed journals and communication with clinical and industrial stakeholders.