Allergenicity assessment strategy for novel food proteins and protein sources

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To solve the future food insecurity problem, alternative and sustainable protein sources (e.g. insects, rapeseed, fava bean and algae) are now being explored for the production of food and feed. To approve these novel protein sources for future food a comprehensive risk assessment is needed according to the European food legislation. Allergenicity risk assessment might pose some major difficulties, since detailed guidance on how to assess the allergenic potential of novel foods is not available. At present, the approach relies mostly on the guidance of allergenicity assessment for genetically modified (GM) plant foods. The most recent one was proposed by EFSA (2010 and 2011); “weight-of-evidence approach”. However this guidance is difficult to interpret, not completely applicable or validated for novel foods and therefore needs some adjustments. In this paper we propose a conceptual strategy which is based on the “weight-of-evidence approach” for food derived from GM plants and other strategies that were previously published in the literature. This strategy will give more guidance on how to assess the allergenicity of novel food proteins and protein sources.

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