In 1996, the Group received an earnest request from a customer to develop food products that even children who have food allergies can eat. The Group has been aware of the existence of customers with concerns regarding food, and for more than 20 years we have been taking measures to address food allergies. Nevertheless, understanding of food allergies is still inadequate in general. We are working to create a society where individuals with food allergies as well as those without can eat enjoyably and confidently.
Personnel responsible for conducting research and development regarding food allergies, food manufacturing and sales, and disseminating information gather to share information and collaborate on initiatives.
Going forward, research and development, manufacture and sale of products, and dissemination of information will remain as pillars of our initiatives for the creation of a society where individuals with food allergies can experience the joy of eating with confidence.
Expectations from a Stakeholder
Significant progress has been made in research on food allergies, and much new knowledge has been accumulating. For clinical diagnosis, antigen-specific IgE antibodies*1 are often measured, but an accurate diagnosis can be made only by taking a detailed history and performing oral food challenge test*2. In cases where an individual has eczema or atopic dermatitis, it is necessary to improve the skin condition before the oral food challenge test is performed, so skincare guidance*3 should be provided. Unfortunately, a significant number of facilities are unaware of such a proper diagnosis process or are unable to perform it.
Another issue is the belief that an individual with a food allergy must avoid the offending food completely. It is now believed that eliminating to the minimum necessary amount of the offending foods based on an accurate diagnosis, and that consuming a small amount of those foods within a safe range, can help prevent a critical reaction if such foods are consumed, or make those food allergies tolerable in the future. In addition, food allergy labeling is convenient for those who have food allergies, but can lead to the misunderstanding among consumers that selecting foods that do not contain specified allergen ingredients for infants can prevent the onset of allergies. The latest research suggests that actively eating such foods during infancy (before the onset of symptoms) may be beneficial.
Based on my long experience, I believe that the most important things are an accurate diagnosis and the dissemination of accurate knowledge. We need to disseminate information regarding accurate diagnoses to healthcare institutions and professionals and convey accurate knowledge to individuals who have allergies, their families, schools, and broadly throughout society.
Dr. Kenji Matsumoto
Head, Department of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
National Research Institute for Child Health and Development
I appreciate the Group’s development of allergen testing kits, manufacture and sale of allergen-free foods, and various other measures taken over many years. I encourage the Group to make even greater efforts in the future regarding food allergies including the dissemination of information and educational measures.
Note1: A test method for measuring antigen-specific IgE antibodies (antibodies that cause an immediate allergic reaction).
Note2: A test whereby a patient consumes foods with suspect allergens to determine if symptoms occur.
Note3: The fundamentals of skincare are cleansing and moisturizing. For details, refer to the 2016 Guidelines for Management of Atopic Dermatitis or other information sources.