Geert Houben

Geert Houben

Principal Scientist at TNO and Professor at Utrecht University on Food-borne Risk Factors for Allergic and Inflammatory Diseases
Geert Houben

UMC Utrecht and TNO collaborate in research on food-borne risk factors for allergic and inflammatory diseases. We develop and apply methods to identify, characterize and manage food-borne risk factors that influence the inflammatory state of our body.

Professorship chair

Food-borne Risk Factors for Allergic and Inflammatory Diseases (Utrecht University).

Research area

A good inflammatory balance is crucial for our health. On the one hand we need inflammatory processes, on the other hand they have to be controlled and suppressed. The inflammatory balances are determined by an interplay between intrinsic properties (such as our genome) and extrinsic factors.

The most abundant exposure to extrinsic factors is through our food, but we actually know very little about which and how food-borne factors affect our immune system.

Our research aims to elucidate how we can use diet as an intervention or to support interventions in immune health, to develop better diagnosis, patient stratification, and population and personalized management, therapy and prevention of inflammatory diseases.

An area where our knowledge has improved greatly over the past decade concerns the effects of food allergens. Here our research focuses on the development, application and international harmonization of quantitative approaches in risk assessment and management of food allergens.

Top publications

  • Blom et al. Accidental food allergy reactions: Products and undeclared ingredients. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2018; 142(3): 865–875.
  • Houben et al. Full range of population Eliciting Dose values for 14 priority allergenic foods and recommendations for use in risk characterization. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 2020; 146: 111831.
  • Houben et al. Risk-based approaches in food allergy. Present Knowledge in Food Safety: A Risk-Based Approach through the Food Chain. 2022; 697–719.
  • Blom et al. The 50th percentile of the general population single eating occasion intake of food is optimal for the calculation of action levels for precautionary allergen labelling. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 2023; 179, 113953.
  • Meima et al. Coupling food compounds data from FooDB and Phenol-Explorer to the Dutch food coding system NEVO: towards a novel approach to studying the role of food in health and disease. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis. 2023; 123, 105550FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Risk Assessment of Food Allergens Parts 1-5. 2022-2024;


Princetonlaan 6
NL-3584 CB Utrecht

Postal address

P.O. Box 80015
NL-3508 TA Utrecht