Sensitivity analysis to derive a food consumption point estimate for deterministic food allergy risk assessment

Food Chem Toxicol. 2019 Mar;125:413-421. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2019.01.025. Epub 2019 Jan 25.


One of the input parameters in food allergy risk assessment is the amount of a given food consumed at an eating occasion. There is no consensus on how to use food consumption data when assessing the risk from unintended allergen presence in food products. A sensitivity analysis was performed to establish the optimal food consumption estimate for a deterministic food allergy risk assessment. Exposure was calculated for consumption percentiles (50th percentile, P50 to maximum) using the iFAAM consumption database in conjunction with an allergen concentration range from 1 to 1000 ppm. The resulting allergen intakes were compared to the allergic population reference doses proposed by Taylor et al. (2014) for 10 major allergenic foods. Optimal consumption percentiles were defined as those which predicted an intake below the relevant reference dose and met the defined acceptable risk level confirmed by probabilistic risk assessments. Analysis showed that, for 99% of the food groups, the P50 consumption met our criteria, while the P75 did so for 100% of the food groups. We suggest that the P75 is the optimal point estimate for use in deterministic food allergy risk assessment. It meets the safety objective and is adequately conservative for a public health context.

Keywords: Allergen management; Deterministic risk assessment; Food allergy; Food consumption percentile; Probabilistic risk assessment; Reference amount.

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Factual
  • Food / statistics & numerical data*
  • Food Contamination
  • Food Hypersensitivity*
  • Humans
  • Risk Assessment