Joint HESI/IFBiC Workshop on Assessing the Effects of Food Processing on Allergenicity

  • Start Date/Time :
  • End Date/Time :
  • Location : Estoril, Portugal 

The HESI Protein Allergenicity Technical Committee hosted a workshop in Estoril, Portugal to assess the effects of food processing on allergenicity.  The purpose of the workshop was to characterize the extent to which various food processing variables impact human allergenicity.  The workshop was attended by over 30 international experts from government, academia, and industry.  The workshop proceedings were published in Food and Chemical Toxicology.


The majority of foods we eat are subjected to some form of processing. Processing includes chemical, physical, and thermal treatments of food proteins.  The objective of the Assessing the Effects of Food Processing on Allergenicity workshop is to explore the role of food processing on the expression and stability of known allergenic proteins.  The biochemical reactions that occur in foods as a result of thermal processing have been described as both beneficial and harmful to the consumer, especially with respect to allergenicity.  A better understanding of the effects of thermal processing-induced biochemical and immunological alterations of food proteins is important for the risk assessment of existing and newly introduced proteins in the food source.  A major objective of the workshop is to publish a monograph representing the state-of-the-art science around allergenicity and the effects of food processing on the stability and exposure of allergenic proteins.  Questions that will be addressed as part of the workshop discussions include:

This will be accomplished by assembling leading academic research scientists, representatives from regulatory agencies from around the world, and industry representatives who will present seminars that will form the basis for discussion and debate.

The primary output from the workshop will be a comprehensive manuscript that will summarize the scientific consensus from the discussions during the workshop.  The manuscript will be submitted for publication in the peer-reviewed literature.

Workshop Materials

To download a copy of the workshop program and participants list, click here.


  • Whether food processing reduces or increases a protein’s allergenic potential?
    • Digestibility in GI tract
    • Presentation to immune system
    • Epitope structure
    • Potentiation (i.e., increased adjuvant-like effects) of immune response by processed foods (e.g., glycation, aggregates, repetitive structures)
    • Inclusion of case studies of allergy development overtime (e.g., kiwi, peanut)
  • Are there specific protein biochemical properties that are associated with thermal stability or lability?
  • How do protein thermal stability and other food processing techniques impact a protein’s inherent allergenicity?
  • How is protein thermal stability currently determined?
  • What are the implications of protein thermal stability and other food processing techniques on food safety assessments?
    • Can expression/exposure data be included in the safety assessment process of novel proteins?
  • Are there data gaps and / or research that need to be addressed to determine the utility of expression/exposure data in the safety assessment of proteins?

Workshop Manuscripts

Click on the manuscript title below to download a complete copy of the manuscript.

Antigen Presenting Cells and T Cell Interactions in the Gastrointestinal Tract
Prof. Thomas T. MacDonald, Queen Mary’s School of Medicine and Dentistry

Assessing the Effects of Processing on IgE Binding
Dr. Jean-Michel Wal, Food Allergy Laboratory

Biophysical Approaches to Assess the Stability of Allergens
Dr. Stef J. Koppelman, HAL Allergy

Chemical and Biochemical Aspects of Food Processing and Its Effect on Allergen Structure and the Food Matrix
Dr. Angelika Paschke, University of Hamburg

Digestion and Uptake of Dietary Antigens–A Physiological Overview
Dr. Simon Murch, Warwick Medical School

How Can Effects of Processing be Factored into Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment of Novel Proteins?  What are Potential Data Gaps?
Dr. Geert F. Houben, TNO Quality of Life

Impact of Food Processing on the Structual and Allergenic Properties of Food Allergens
Dr. E.N. Clare Mills, Institute of Food Research

Impact of Processing on Thresholds of Elicitation
Dr. René Creel, Unilever

In Vitro Digestion Methods for Assessing the Effect of Food Structure on Allergen Breakdown
Dr. Martin Wickham, Institute of Food Research

Utility of Animal Models for Evaluating Hypoallergenicity
Dr. Rodolphe Fritsché, Nestlé Research Center


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