Food challenge materials for diagnosis of food allergies

Food allergy has become a major global health problem, affecting 17 million people in Europe alone, and around 220-250 million people worldwide.

It can be difficult for food allergy sufferers to obtain an accurate diagnosis. This results in uncertainty that can adversely affect an individuals quality of life. Many tests, like skin tests and blood tests that measure IgE, cannot provide a clear reliable answer. The definitive diagnostic test for adverse reactions to food is a food challenge performed under close expert medical supervision. In particular double blind, placebo controlled food challenges (DBPCFC) can ensure observed reactions are not due to any placebo effects.

Historically a wide variety of self-prepared matrices, or even the patients’ own foods, have been used. Often the effectiveness of blinding of an allergenic food may not always have been confirmed by sensory analysis, when challenge meals have been prepared in this way.

Following a decade of research, the first standardised oral food challenge meals, including those suitable for DBPBFC, are now emerging, based on challenge meals developed in the EuroPrevall project. Reacta Biotech is taking the development of oral food challenges forward and placing it on a sustainable footing.