Food Allergy Facts

Posted on November 02, 2016 by Julia Zardetto | 0 comments

food-allergy-factsIf you do not suffer from a food allergy then it is unlikely that you know just how difficult this health problem can be to manage. Having to completely avoid certain foods might sound simple, but it is not always easy to know what is used in a product, particularly those that have been baked fresh at bakeries and coffee shops.

Severe Food-Allergy Risks

When someone suffers a severe reaction as a result of a food allergy they will more than likely require emergency treatment from a trained healthcare professional. An injection of adrenaline is the most likely immediate course of treatment. It is estimated that ten people will die every year in the United Kingdom as a result of such a reaction, which is also known as food-induced anaphylaxis.

In addition to deaths from food-induced anaphylaxis, approximately 1,500 people die in the UK each yeah from asthma, a condition that is sometimes triggered by an allergic reaction to food.

Living with a food allergy can be stressful, especially when food labelling can often be quite complicated. Even the slightest trace of the food in question can be enough to induce a fatal or near fatal reaction, and this constant worry of contamination can cause quite a high level of anxiety and concern for those afflicted.

Pre-Packaged Food Labels

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is the body responsible for monitoring and assessing the presence of allergens in food throughout Europe. They instruct manufacturers as to which food allergens need to be listed on pre-packaged foods. This alleviates some of the stresses for food allergy sufferers as the information that they need is clearly indicated.

In Europe there are currently 14 allergens that must always be listed on pre-packaged foods.

Those foods are:

  1. Cereals containing gluten (wheat, rye, barley, oats)
  2. Crustaceans (prawns, crabs, lobster, crayfish)
  3. Eggs
  4. Fish
  5. Peanuts
  6. Soybeans
  7. Milk
  8. Nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, pecan nuts, Brazil nuts, pistachio nuts, macadamia nuts)
  9. Celery
  10. Mustard
  11. Sesame
  12. Sulphur dioxide / sulphites (when used above 10mg / kg in a finished product)
  13. Lupin (found often in bread, pastries and pasta)
  14. Molluscs (clams, mussels, whelks, oysters, snails, squid)

In addition to these allergens needing to be labelled on the foods that they are used in, they must also be included on the label if any of them are used on the same site where a product is made. The allergen in question will always be listed in bold or italics so that it stands out from the other ingredients.

Food allergies and intolerances affect approximately 8% of children in the United Kingdom and 2% of adults.

food-allergy-factsThose who stick to restricted diets for ethical or health reasons are much more likely to have control over the products that they are putting into their bodies. This is because they are choosing to only eat certain foods for various reasons.

One of the most obvious diets to follow for ethical reasons is the vegan diet. This involves not consuming any animal products or animal bi-products. The vegan diet is known to have several great health benefits and you can get started yourself by checking out this guide on How to go Vegan.

For the 1% of the population that are diagnosed with coeliac disease, a gluten-free diet is the only way forwards. This involves completely eliminating foods that contain gluten and also trying to avoid any foods that may have been contaminated with gluten. If you want some help and advice on following a gluten free diet then feel free to get in touch with us via our Facebook page!

Resources

  1. http://allergytraining.food.gov.uk/english/food-allergy-facts.aspx
  2. https://www.food.gov.uk/science/allergy-intolerance

Posted in coeliacs disease, diet, food labels, free from, gluten, gluten-free, veganism


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