The applicant provided information regarding the addition of almonds, almond oils, and nuts to an alcohol distillation process where they act as natural flavouring agents of the final alcoholic
distillate, supplementing information submitted to obtain temporary exemption.
The beverages in question are widely consumed in the European Union. Literature review that includes information up to April 2006 failed to reveal allergic reactions after consumption of
distillates where nuts have been used as flavourings before distillation, although underreporting cannot be excluded. Further evidence of the unlikelihood of distillates made mainly from
almonds or nuts to elicit allergic reactions stems from additional analytical data on potential residues of protein and their allergenicity in the distillates and the distillation process. The
analytical methodology did not address the allergenic activity of residual protein levels in the final products by using appropriate human sera. Neither epidemiological studies nor double blind
placebo controlled food challenge studies in clinical settings have been carried out to address possible adverse allergic reactions to distilled spirit drinks due to almond or nut allergens.
Based on the data submitted by the applicant, the Panel notes that proteins and peptides are not carried over into the distillate during a properly controlled distillation process, at least not
in amounts above 1 mg/L. Although the analytical evidence is derived from experiments that were performed predominantly with almonds, the Panel considers that distillates made from nuts are
unlikely to trigger a severe allergic reaction in susceptible individuals.