To leverage scientific knowledge for action on food allergens, Scientific Advice Program teams from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) collaborated with the Codex Alimentarius Committee on Food Labelling (CCFL) to host a webinar discussing the outcomes of food allergen expert consultations. The webinar can be watched on FAO’s YouTube page.

The webinar described approaches used in the most recent series of expert meetings to holistically address risks associated with food allergens. Also addressed in the webinar was how the updated quantitative risk assessment could be used to develop risk management decisions, and how it facilitated CCFL’s work to update Codex texts. The following topics were discussed:

  • Priority food allergens: cereals containing gluten, crustacean, egg, fish, peanut, milk, tree nuts (hazelnut, cashew, walnut, pistachio, pecan, almond), and sesame
  • Determining how much of each allergen is “too much” to be present in foods, based on a quantitative risk assessment approach
  • Why precautionary allergen labeling based in the risk assessment approach is the best way to inform consumers about the presence of allergens in food
  • Determining whether exempting label requirements for certain foods would increase consumer risks based on the risk assessment, conveniently aided by a flow chart.