Prof. Nurheni Sri Palupi: People are not too Concerned About The Problem of Food Allergies

Food allergy is a clinical health problem that continues to increase caused by allergens contained in various protein-sourced foodstuffs. Allergic reactions can cause health problems in the skin, gastrointestinal tract and respiratory tract, starting with mild symptoms to being fatal and causing death.

National allergy prevalence data are not yet available, although some allergy data can be collected from several hospitals or allergy clinics. There are eight main food sources of allergens, namely milk, cereals containing gluten, peanuts, tree nuts (uut tree), eggs, soybeans, fish and shellfish.

"In Indonesia, public awareness of the problem of food allergies is still relatively low. Generally, people overcome it by avoiding consuming food that contains allergens (allergenic food). If this condition persists, it is feared that it will have a negative impact on meeting protein needs, especially in infants and children who are growing," said Prof. Nurheni Sri Palupi, Professor of the Faculty of Agricultural Technology, IPB University in the Pre-Oration Press Conference. , (24/11).

According to her, allergens contained in food products are a challenge for the food industry. Withdrawal of food products related to allergens from distribution is an unwanted event because apart from causing financial losses it also impacts the company's reputation.

The application of food processing technology can reduce the allergenicity of various food ingredients. Therefore, it is a necessity to be able to realize the availability of hypoallergenic food products that can be accessed by allergy sufferers easily and affordably.

"Intermediate foods, such as flour from cereals and legumes, are widely used as the main ingredients for making complementary foods for breast milk (MP-ASI) intended for infants and children. Therefore it is important to start identifying and mapping the technology or method of processing allergenic food ingredients, to produce hypoallergenic food products," she added.

She explained that the development of hypoallergenic food products could be in the form of processed food products or intermediate food products. This product is used to process other food products.

In addition, she added, regulatory agencies have mandated the labeling of major allergens in packaged food products to help consumers choose safe foods (do not contain allergen ingredients). However, regulations regarding hypoallergenic food are still limited to formula milk products.

"A number of stages of testing are generally required to confirm suspected food hypoallergenicity, which can be carried out, both in universities and research institutes. The food industry has also implemented risk management along the process line which allows cross-allergen contact to occur," she added.

According to her, the common cause of cross-contact is the use of process equipment between allergenic and nonallergenic food ingredients interchangeably, as well as ineffective sanitation processes.

"Therefore, to overcome the problem of food allergies, a collaborative framework is needed between universities, the food industry and government agencies. The strategy for developing hypoallergenic food also needs to be designed immediately to increase the availability of healthy and safe food," she said. (Zul) (IAAS/STR)

Published Date : 25-Nov-2022

Resource Person : Prof Nurheni Sri Palupi

Keyword : IPB University, Food Allergy, Professor