Allergic to bureaucracy? Regulatory allergenicity assessments of novel food: Motivations, challenges, compromises, and possibilities

Odeya Kedar*, Alexander Golberg, Uri Obolski, Ronit Confino-Cohen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


New sources of proteins are essential to meet the demands of the growing world population and evolving food trends. Assessing the allergenicity of proteins in novel food (NF) poses a significant food safety regulatory challenge. The Codex Alimentarius Commission presented an allergenicity assessment protocol for genetically modified (GM) foods, which can also be adapted for NF. Since no single laboratory test can adequately predict the allergenic potential of NF, the protocol follows a weight-of-evidence approach, evaluated by experts, as part of a risk management process. Regulatory bodies worldwide have adopted this safety protocol, which, among other things, promotes global harmonization. This review unravels the reliability and various motivations, terms, concepts, and approaches of allergenicity assessments, aiming to enhance understanding among manufacturers and the public. Health Canada, Food Safety Commission JAPAN, and Food Standards Australia New Zealand were surveyed, focusing on the European Food Safety Authority and the US Food Safety Administration for examples of scientific opinions regarding allergenicity assessments for novel and GM foods, from 2019 to 2023. According to our findings, current regulatory allergenicity assessments for NF approval primarily rely on literature reviews. Only a few of the NF assessments proactively presented additional tests. We recommend conducting bioinformatic analyses on NF when a panel of experts deems that there is insufficient prior scientific research.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13300
JournalComprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2024


FundersFunder number
Ministry of Health, State of Israel3‐16052


    • allergenicity assessments
    • food allergies
    • novel food
    • regulatory
    • weight-of-evidence


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