Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 463

delayed introduction of allergenic foods into the infant diet.
For example, most recommendations suggested no peanuts
in the diet for 3 years. This advice seemed logical because
allergic sensitization should not occur without exposure. But
the recommendations were not based on scientific and clinical
evidence. Several years ago, the observation was made that
the prevalence of peanut allergy among Jewish children in
Israel was extremely low while the prevalence of peanut allergy
among genetically similar Jewish children in London was quite
high. Israeli parents make widespread use of an expanded
snack foods with peanut butter called Bamba® giving it to
infants in the early months of life. This observation was the
genesis of the LEAP (Learning Early About Peanuts). High-risk
British infants (with egg allergy and eczema) were divided into
two groups with one receiving peanut in the form of Bamba
on a regular basis from the age of 4-6 months and the other
group practicing strict peanut avoidance. At the end of 5 years,
the children who had been eating peanuts from an early age
had a much lower prevalence of peanut allergy by comparison
to the avoidance group. While breast-feeding remains as an
excellent choice for infant nutrition, the supplementation with
allergenic foods from an early age appears to be protective.
Research is ongoing to determine if the lower risk extends to
children who are not high risk and to foods beyond peanut.
Public health authorities and pediatric societies have now
changed their advice and are promoting the early introduction
of peanuts especially in high-risk infants. But how will we
educate consumers that this fundamental change in weaning
practices is wise when it seems to go against the logic of
peanut avoidance?
So, how has the food industry responded when faced
with an ever-increasing number of consumers with food
allergies? The public health authorities began to recognize the
public health significance of food allergies in the early 1990s.
Predictably, the food industry awoke soon thereafter. But
initially the situation for the food industry was chaotic. Major
food companies had recalls, sometimes multiple recalls, for
undeclared allergens in the mid-1990s. But over the ensuing
years, the food industry has made tremendous progress in
allergen control.
Specific avoidance diets remain the only effective approach
to prevention of allergic reactions to foods. In response to the
public health trend of increasing allergic reactions to foods,
laws and regulations have been promulgated to assist foodallergic consumers. The Food Allergen Labeling & Consumer
Protection Act (FALCPA) went into effect in 2006 and several
improvements in allergen labeling were implemented (plain
English language for allergenic ingredients, the Contains
statement, declarationof ingredients derived from allergenic
sources). Then the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was
passed in 2011 that recognized food allergens as a hazard that
was reasonably likely to occur in many food processing facilities
due to mixed uses of equipment and facilities. FSMA mandated
the development and implementation of preventive allergen
control plans.
So, how is it going? Considerable progress has been made
in several areas. Analytical methods exist for the detection of
residues of allergenic foods. While ample room exists for the
development of improved methods, food companies do have
methods to detect allergen resides and determine if preventive
controls are effective. A great deal of information has been
gathered on threshold doses for various allergenic foods that
could allow the use of quantitative risk assessment to guide
preventive controls. Unfortunately FDA and other public health
agencies still do not recognize the existence of thresholds.

Labeling practices have improved especially with respect to the
use of Contains labels and plain English language as mandated
under FALCPA. Many food companies have developed and
implemented preventive allergen controls so that they can
manufacture multiple formulations on shared equipment without
concerns about detectable undeclared allergens.
But progress has not been perfect. The FDA and other
public health agencies do not recognize the existence of
thresholds. This leads to a zero-threshold mentality and
uncertainty on the part of industry regarding safe levels. Thus
even undetectable levels of allergen residues are sometimes
construed as potentially unsafe or as a potential regulatory
issue. This uncertainty and a strong desire to protect highly
sensitive allergic consumers has resulted in the proliferation of
precautionary allergen labeling (PAL). Usage of PAL is voluntary
but allowed in most countries so long as the PAL statements
are truthful and not misleading. But PAL (may contain x,
manufactured on shared equipment with x, manufactured in a
shared facility with x, etc.) is very widely practiced. The high
usage of PAL diminishes the quality of life of allergic consumers
who must look even harder to find foods for their specific
avoidance diets. As might be expected, surveys indicate
that some allergic consumers are ignoring PAL and eating
the products despite the statements. And analytical surveys
indicate that less than 10% of products with PAL statements
have detectable allergen residues. Arguably, PAL has lost its
effectiveness.
While recalls for undeclared allergens are the #1 reason
for packaged food recalls in the U.S., questions could be
asked the public health impact of some of the reasons. Please
understand that some of these recalls are VERY necessary
especially if the recalls involve egregious oversights on the part
of industry (e.g., putting the incorrect product in the package) or
if the recalls involve consumer complaints of allergic reactions.
But some recalls involve very low or even undetectable levels
of allergen residues and no consumer complaints. These
recalls get reported and conducted because the public health
authorities have not established safe levels.
Could the situation be improved in the future? In my
estimation, the establishment of Reference Doses based on
clinical threshold data are the key to effective food allergen
management by both public health authorities and the food
industry. With Reference Doses, FDA and other public health
authorities would focus on recalls that have public health
impact. Reference Doses would serve as the baseline for
preventive allergen controls. How clean is clean enough?
With Reference Doses, the FDA could also modify current
ingredient labeling requirements to focus on ingredients that
are derived from allergenic sources AND contain sufficient
amounts of protein from the allergenic source to be a concern
for allergic consumers. For example, butter ester is derived
from milk but contains no detectable milk protein. It is not
currently exempt from FALCPA labeling requirements because
it is derived from milk and may contain protein residues below
current detection limits. But the declaration of butter ester
in the Contains statement likely has no public health benefit.
The implementation of Reference Doses would enhance the
effectiveness of the Contains statement. The food industry could
also use Reference Doses to guide preventive allergen controls,
precautionary labeling decisions, and even Reportable Food
Registry actions. But the food industry is unlikely to establish
Reference Doses without guidance from FDA and other public
health authorities. Well, recalls for undeclared allergens are
the #1 reason for recalls recorded in the FDA Reportable Food
Registry over the past 5 years.
November/December Food Protection Trends

463



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017

The Cleanliness of Resusable Water Bottles: How Contamination Levels are Affected by Bottle Usage and Cleaning Behaviors of Bottle Owners
Impact of Carcass Anatomical Location on the Microbiological Profile of Beef Trimmings
Thermal Processing Parameters to Ensure a 5-log Reduction of Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella enterica, and Listeria monocytogenes in Acidified Tomato-based Foods
Experimental Evaluation of Performance of Sampling Techniques for Microbiological Quantification on Carcass Services
Effect-based Analytics for Toxicological Screening - Concepts for Future Developments
Beyond the Bio - John Luchansky
PDF Highlight - Food Chemical Hazards and Food Allergy PDG
IAFP 2017 In Review
Industry Products
Coming Events
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - Cover1
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - Cover2
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 385
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 386
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 387
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 388
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 389
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 390
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 391
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - The Cleanliness of Resusable Water Bottles: How Contamination Levels are Affected by Bottle Usage and Cleaning Behaviors of Bottle Owners
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 393
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 394
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 395
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 396
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 397
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 398
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 399
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 400
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 401
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 402
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - Impact of Carcass Anatomical Location on the Microbiological Profile of Beef Trimmings
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 404
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 405
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 406
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 407
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 408
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - Thermal Processing Parameters to Ensure a 5-log Reduction of Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella enterica, and Listeria monocytogenes in Acidified Tomato-based Foods
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 410
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 411
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 412
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 413
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 414
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 415
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 416
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 417
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 418
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - Experimental Evaluation of Performance of Sampling Techniques for Microbiological Quantification on Carcass Services
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 420
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 421
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 422
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 423
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 424
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 425
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 426
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 427
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 428
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 429
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - Effect-based Analytics for Toxicological Screening - Concepts for Future Developments
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 431
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 432
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 433
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 434
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 435
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 436
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 437
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - Beyond the Bio - John Luchansky
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 439
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 440
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - PDF Highlight - Food Chemical Hazards and Food Allergy PDG
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 442
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 443
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 444
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - IAFP 2017 In Review
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 446
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 447
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 448
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 449
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 450
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Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 461
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 462
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 463
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 464
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 465
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Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 467
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Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 531
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 532
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 533
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - Industry Products
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 535
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 536
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 537
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 538
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 539
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Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 541
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 542
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - 543
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - Coming Events
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - Cover3
Food Protection Trends - November/December 2017 - Cover4
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