Food safety and quality

Tackling the emerging issue of new food allergens - The power of working together


The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and Danone have been collaborating to improve global nutrition and food safety knowledge and promote sustainable food systems since 2019 under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

In this context, FAO and Danone set out to review the current trends and drivers linked to the emergence of new food allergens and reflect on future perspectives for this area.  These findings are shared in the joint review, Are alternative proteins increasing food allergies? Trends, drivers and future perspectives, recently published in the journal, Trends in Food Science & Technology.

“As we search for more sustainable foods and protein sources to feed the world’s growing populations, we must not neglect food safety. If it isn’t safe, it isn’t food,” said Christine Kopko, FAO Food Safety Officer. 

Jossie Garthoff, Global Food Safety Scientific Affairs Leader with Danone, spoke of the private sector’s role: ”Food Business Operators have the responsibility to provide safe products for all our consumers, including people with food allergies. The combination of pre-market safety assessment of alternative proteins, clear labelling and post-market monitoring and reporting will be key.”

Food allergy is a serious health issue for which no effective cure exists yet. Changes in consumer dietary preferences and innovations in agriculture and food processing can come with the introduction of new hazards and/or routes of exposure. As we strive for more sustainable and resilient agrifood systems, food safety must remain a central element in this transformation. The global adoption of science-based approaches for assessing food safety risks (including allergenicity), effective food control systems and foresight into emerging issues, are critical to achieving food safety and protecting the health of all consumers.

Access the full article in Trends in Food Science & Technology on ScienceDirect 

For more information, see also:

   The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between FAO and Danone

   FAO - Food Safety Foresight

   Ad hoc Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Risk Assessment of Food Allergens  


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