Food allergy is a common health problem. It has an enormous impact on people’s quality of life, as well as a huge economic impact. But there is good news: we now have the basic technology needed to create a food-allergy-free world.
With a prevalence of about 3%, food allergy is one of the most common diseases in the western world. The health effects of this potentially fatal disorder exceed those of many other disorders, and those of all known chemicals and microbes in food. There are also major economic impacts, resulting from hospital visits and food recalls.
In recent years, a great deal has been learned about the risks of allergens in food, the proteins responsible for allergic reactions, risk assessment and risk management. To reduce the burden of food allergy in society, three things need to happen: existing food allergy sufferers must be protected, the development of allergies to novel foods must be prevented, and food allergies must be prevented or cured. If we succeed in this, then a food-allergy-free world in the 20-thirties is definitely possible, according to Geert Houben, one of the authors of the white paper entitled ‘Towards a food-allergy-free world’.
Joint Research Program Food Allergy
To achieve this goal, TNO cooperates with an international group of universities, clinical centres, patient organizations, governmental bodies and industry and has initiated TNO’s Joint Research Program Food Allergy.