Why is it important?
An allergen is a substance that causes an allergic reaction, i.e. a chain of reactions in the body’s immune system. In the case of food allergens this can be as a result of contact, ingestion or inhalation.
Food allergies are a real public health problem. The occurrence of food allergies has grown tremendously in recent years, from 1% in 1970 to 6 to 8% of the population today. Allergy as a pathology can manifest itself in several ways: via skin reactions (e.g. urticaria, eczema), respiratory reactions (e.g. asthma), ophthalmological manifestations (e.g. conjunctivitis), and can even be fatal (e.g. anaphylactic shock, angioedema).
The frequency of food allergies and their consequences for health have led public authorities to introduce consumer information measures.
In EU, INCO regulation (EC) No 1169/2011 and Decree No 2015-447 impose the obligation to indicate the presence of allergens in their products on manufacturers and retailers. In accordance with Directive 2007/68/CE, fourteen major allergens must be mentioned, either on a label for a packaged product or through information provided, such as on menus for non-packaged products when they are used as ingredients in food. The ingredient must appear on the label in the list of ingredients and include a clear reference to the name of the allergen. Labelling rules only apply to ingredients deliberately introduced by the manufacturer into the recipe for the product. As a result, agri-food manufacturers must assess the risks of contamination and make every effort to reduce them.
How Upscience can help you?
Upscience analyses allergens by PCR, Elisa test or ion chromatography.