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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Food Processing: Effects on Allergenicity

Author
item Maleki, Soheila

Submitted to: Current Opinions in Immunology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 5, 2004
Publication Date: April 27, 2004
Citation: Maleki, S.J. 2004. Food processing: effects on allergenicity. Current Opinions in Immunology. 4:241-245.

Interpretive Summary: There has been an increase in the prevalence of food allergy, asthma, and severe reactions to foods in the past decade. The reason for this increase is unknown, and despite the potential for a lethal outcome, no treatments or therapies are available. Many areas are being explored to understand the increase in food allergy, and the role of modern processing techniques is one of them. The fact that processing influences allergenicity is not a new concept. However, due to some definitive studies in the last few years, the topic has been revitalized. Not only is the processed form of a particular allergen important in assessment of allergenicity, but the role of the food matrix in which an allergen is processed, must also be evaluated. The issue of allergenicity of particular foods is therefore highly complex, and even with existing knowledge, we have just begun to understand some of the contributions of processing to allergenic properties of proteins and foods. Researchers and medical personnel have begun to weigh the benefits and potential disadvantages of assessing the allergenicity of foods in unprocessed forms. In this review, the known effects of processing on the allergenicity of various foods will be discussed, along with the implications of the most recent studies on the future direction of research in this area.

Technical Abstract: There has been an increase in the prevalence of food allergy, asthma, and severe reactions to foods in the past decade. The reason for this increase is unknown, and despite the potential for a lethal outcome, no treatments or therapies are available. Many areas are being explored to understand the increase in food allergy, and the role of modern processing techniques is one of them. The fact that processing influences allergenicity is not a new concept. However, due to some definitive studies in the last few years, the topic has been revitalized. Not only is the processed form of a particular allergen important in assessment of allergenicity, but the role of the food matrix in which an allergen is processed, must also be evaluated. The issue of allergenicity of particular foods is therefore highly complex, and even with existing knowledge, we have just begun to understand some of the contributions of processing to allergenic properties of proteins and foods. Researchers and medical personnel have begun to weigh the benefits and potential disadvantages of assessing the allergenicity of foods in unprocessed forms. In this review, the known effects of processing on the allergenicity of various foods will be discussed, along with the implications of the most recent studies on the future direction of research in this area.

Last Modified: 9/22/2014
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