4 year research project launched to look at major questions on food allergy

Added on 12 Oct, 2005 . There are .

On October 11th a 4 year research project is launched to look at major questions on food allergy. The research project is EU funded, and as a result of the EuroPrevall project scientists hope to find out how many people suffer from a food allergy and to determine the main foods responsible, as well as the cost in monetary terms and quality of life.

Dr Clare Mills, EuroPrevall coordinator from the Institute of Food Research in Norwich said "For the first time, we will tease out the role of diet, environment and infections in the development of food allergy and whether early signs of predisposition to allergy can be found in our genes."

"Scientific teams will work on new methods to improve clinical diagnosis of food allergy and prevent allergens reaching the food chain."

The aim of EuroPrevall is to deliver improved quality of life for food allergic people, specifically:

  • Characterise the patterns and prevalence of food allergies across Europe in infants, children and adults
  • Use samples and information from the surveys to identify risk factors (e.g. environmental, microbial or genetic) and novel predictive markers (e.g. biochemical and genetic) for food allergy, which would allow implementation of preventive measures, for example during pregnancy)
  • Improve the quality of food allergy diagnosis, reducing the need for food challenge tests
  • Investigate how the food matrix affects allergenicity of foods, including food processing procedures
  • Determine the impact of food allergies on the quality of life and its economic cost for food allergic people and their families, workplace and employers, and healthcare

The European Commission Director of Biotechnology, Agriculture and Food research, Christian Patermann said, "I am delighted to launch research that will help assure the health and well-being of European citizens through safer, high-quality and health-promoting food."

"The projects will tackle some of the big outstanding food quality and safety questions. For example, on epidemiology of food allergy in Europe, 'what are the key risk factors'? By examining the complex interactions between food intake and metabolism, the human immune system and genetic background, we can provide answers to help manage and reduce the prevalence of food allergies in the future."

The Institute of Food Research