Food allergy caused by insects?

October 20, 2020

Those with food allergies must avoid allergens in food. Health problems can be triggered by even the smallest traces for those affected. This is why manufacturers of ready-made foods must list the ingredients on the packaging. A special declaration obligation applies to major allergens, such as peanuts, celery or egg, even if these are only found in small quantities in the recipe. However, the declaration of allergens that inadvertently enter a food, in other words which are not part of the regular ingredients, is not regulated. These kinds of inadvertent allergenic entries can happen due to transport and production conditions, for example, and pose a health risk to those with allergies.

According to estimates from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), more than 1900 insect species are consumed worldwide. They are subject to rules related to novel foods in the EU.

It is also probable that insects will be increasingly used as components in food in the future. The role of insects as a potential new food allergen is currently being discussed. Although only a few cases of allergies caused by insect components have been described to date, there is considerable potential for cross-reaction notably with arthropods (including crustaceans and dust mites) due to the similarity (homology) of numerous proteins such as e.g. tropomyosin and arginine kinase.

One aim of the Allergen-Pro joint research project is to provide food monitoring authorities and, ultimately, food producers with methods for identifying insect components in food in due course. A total of seven partners from Switzerland and Germany are involved in developing suitable and reproducible methods for the detection of insect components even in highly processed food products. These methods are based either on detecting the genetic material that is unique to each species, or on directly detecting any allergenic proteins.

Furthermore, the clinical relevance of insects as a health-relevant potential food allergen is still unclear. It is still difficult to predict the clinical relevance of food sensitisation using so-called in-vitro methods. Innovative, high-through-put in vitro methods for identifying allergenic IgE/G epitopes in insect proteomes will also be developed to improve safety for those suffering from allergies and food manufacturers. The project is also working on developing an in-vitro test system for the first time that should make it possible to determine, with minimal stress for the test subjects, whether they are allergic or only demonstrate sensitisation without clinical reactions.
-end-
The Allergen-Pro project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) following a resolution by the German Bundestag.

Further information on insects is available from the BfR website: https://www.bfr.bund.de/de/a-z_index/insekten-199312.html

https://www.bfr.bund.de/de/veranstaltung/bfr_symposium___insekten_als_lebens__und_futtermittel___nahrung_der_zukunft_-197151.html

About the BfR

The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is a scientifically independent institution within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in Germany. It advises the German federal government and German federal states ("Laender") on questions of food, chemical and product safety. The BfR conducts its own research on topics that are closely linked to its assessment tasks.

This text version is a translation of the original German text which is the only legally binding version


BfR Federal Institute for Risk Assessment

Related Allergies Articles from Brightsurf:

With or without allergies, outcomes similar for hospitalized patients with COVID-19
A new study being presented at this year's virtual American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting examines hospital data to determine if those with allergic conditions had more severe COVID-related disease than those without.

Links between parents' and children's asthma and allergies
New research published in Clinical & Experimental Allergy found that, compared with a father's traits related to allergies and asthma, a mother's traits create a higher risk that a child will develop these same traits in early childhood.

New insight into allergies could improve diagnosis and treatment
A study led by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital point to a potential marker of these conditions and a new therapeutic strategy.

Got seasonal allergies? Beetles could help
Allergies caused by the common ragweed, Ambrosia artemisiifolia, impact millions, and in Europe alone, around 13.5 million people suffer with symptoms, resulting in 7.4 billion Euros worth of health costs per year, according to the research.

Drinking green tea may help with food allergies
Drinking green tea increases Flavonifractor plautii in the gut, which in turn suppresses an allergic food immune response.

Breastfeeding and risks of allergies and asthma
In an Acta Paediatrica study, exclusive breastfeeding for the first 3 months was linked with a lower risk of respiratory allergies and asthma when children reached 6 years of age.

Search for the source of antibodies would help treat allergies
Researchers of Sechenov University together with their colleagues from Russia and Austria summarised everything known about cells producing group E antibodies.

Changes in onset of spring linked to more allergies across the US
Human-induced climate change is disrupting nature's calendar, including when plants bloom and the spring season starts, and new research from the University of School of Public Health suggests we're increasingly paying the price for it in the form of seasonal allergies.

Prenatal allergies prompt sexual changes in offspring
A single allergic reaction during pregnancy prompts sexual-development changes in the brains of offspring that last a lifetime, new research suggests.

Food allergies: A research update
Families impacted by food allergies will need psychosocial support as they try promising new therapies that enable them to ingest a food allergen daily or wear a patch that administers a controlled dose of that food allergen.

Read More: Allergies News and Allergies Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.