Preparation of a review on sensory hyperreactivity, and evaluation of 20 ingredients in an alcoholic beverage


A global producer of wine and spirits.


Bibra scientists were asked to review the available data on sensory hyperreactivity, chemical sensitivity (especially by inhalation) and food allergy / food intolerance, and to compare the prevalence of these three conditions in the general population. Associated with this, we were asked to conduct literature searches on 20 ingredients in a consumer product, to determine whether any of them are associated with allergic / intolerance reactions.

Project Goals

The aim was to determine the likelihood of a particular consumer product presenting a health risk to workers or consumers, by providing an overview of the key irritation / sensitisation data on the specific components identified. The requested background document on sensory hyperreactivity enabled the client to understand the wider issues involved.


The first step was to search our own in-house database, TRACE, along with Toxline and PubMed, to identify papers on sensory hyperreactivity, chemical sensitivity and food allergy / food intolerance (using these and related terms in the search). There is a vast literature on these issues so, in the process of reducing the number of hits to a manageable number, we had to be careful that we did not inadvertently exclude key papers. Data were extracted from the most relevant papers, which were also scrutinised for citations to other papers of interest, and an overview of the issues was prepared. In the next phase of the project, good use was made of the TRACE database and databank as a quick and efficient means of identifying Expert Group evaluations on the chemicals of interest. These reports were used to identify any data on skin or respiratory irritation or sensitisation. In addition, we conducted searches of the primary literature published since the Expert Group reports, using TRACE, TOXNET and eChemPortal at the very least, to ensure that there had been no further critical developments. The key information on each chemical was summarised.

Project Outcome

We successfully completed the literature review on sensory hyperreactivity, which enabled the client to put their particular issue into context. In addition, the 20 mini reviews on the individual compounds or groups of compounds highlighted those compounds that the client might wish to evaluate further.

Project Leaders

Tanya Diver

Food and food-contact reviews

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