De la Cruz, Silvia; GonzÃ¡lez, Isabel; GarcÃa, Teresa; MartÃn, Rosario
Food allergy is defined as an immune system-mediated hypersensitivity reaction that takes place in sensitized individuals when coming into contact with food allergens. From a clinical standpoint, IgE-mediated allergic reactions are considered of high importance, as they can result in fatal reactions. Several studies about prevalence of food allergies highlight that it is a rapidly growing public health problem that affects an estimated 1-3 % of adult and 4-7 % of child population. As the only way to prevent the onset of food allergies is total avoidance of the offending food, different regulatory agencies have enacted regulations enforcing declaration of the presence of allergenic ingredients in food labels. Although food labeling provides useful information to allergic consumers, food industry is challenged to reveal the presence of hidden or not declared allergens in foodstuffs. To this end, sensible and reliable methods to detect and quantify the presence food allergens are required. However, the lack of agreement to stablish the minimum amount of food allergen able to trigger an allergic reaction, together with the lack of sanctioned guidelines to confirm the presence and to guide risk management of food allergens, is translated into a tendency towards the overuse ofadvisory food allergen labelling by food industries.