Use of botanicals and natural substances in consumer products has increased in recent years. Such extracts can contain protein that may theoretically represent a potential risk of IgE-mediated allergy. No method has yet been generally accepted or validated for assessment of the allergenic potential of proteins. For development of suitable methods datasets of allergenic and non-allergenic (or low allergenic) proteins are required that can serve, respectively, as positive and negative controls. However, data are unavailable on proteins that lack or have low allergenic potential.
Due to the risk of inducing an immediate type I (IgE-mediated) allergic response, proteins intended for use in consumer products must be investigated for their allergenic potential before introduction into the marketplace. The FAO/WHO guidelines for computational assessment of allergenic potential of proteins based on short peptide hits and linear sequence window identity thresholds misclassify many proteins as allergens.