Literature searches and reviews related to the prevalence of food allergy in Europe

food allergy, prevalence, population study, systematic review, allergen, allergenicity
First published in EFSA Supporting Publications
8 November 2013
Issued
4 November 2013
Type
External Scientific Report
Abstract

In 2011, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) received a mandate from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) to review the available scientific data on the prevalence of each food allergy in Europe, to derive threshold concentrations for each allergen in foods when possible, and to review the analytical methods available for the detection/quantification of food allergens. This report presents the findings of a series of systematic reviews of the literature related to these aims. Systematic searches of relevant bibliographic databases and the grey literature were conducted, studies were selected for inclusion according to pre-specified criteria, relevant data was extracted from all included studies, and the quality of included studies assessed. The first systematic review examined the literature on the prevalence of food allergy (IgE-mediated and non-IgE mediated) in different regions of the World and in individual European countries for different age groups in relation to each of the following food allergens: milk/dairy, eggs, cereals, peanuts, nuts, celery, crustaceans, fish, molluscs, soy, lupin, mustard and sesame. For each of these allergens changes in prevalence trends over time were also examined. Additionally, emerging food allergens in different European countries were identified. Of the 7333 articles identified by the searches, data from 92 studies was included, 52 of which reported on studies conducted within Europe. The second systematic review examined the effects of food processing on the allergenicity of foods in relation to each of the following food allergens: milk/dairy, eggs, cereals, peanuts, nuts, celery, crustaceans, fish, molluscs, soy, lupin, mustard and sesame. From 1040 articles identified by the searches, 25 studies were included in this review. The final systematic review examined the evidence regarding the new analytical methods available to analyse/detect the food allergens considered in the previous systematic reviews in processed foods. From 1475 articles identified by the searches, 84 studies were included.

Contact
nda [at] efsa.europa.eu
doi
10.2903/sp.efsa.2013.EN-506
Question Number
On request from
EFSA
Disclaimer
The present document has been produced and adopted by the bodies identified above as author(s). This task has been carried out exclusively by the author(s) in the context of a contract between the European Food Safety Authority and the author(s), awarded following a tender procedure. The present document is published complying with the transparency principle to which the Authority is subject. It may not be considered as an output adopted by the Authority. The European Food Safety Authority reserves its rights, view and position as regards the issues addressed and the conclusions reached in the present document, without prejudice to the rights of the author(s).