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Food Allergens Focus of New Study

A study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) discusses confusion surrounding the diagnosis and maintenance of food allergies.  The release of this study coincides with Food Allergy Awareness Week.  

Food Allergy Awareness Week is a national awareness campaign that was started by the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network in 1998 and is aimed at educating the public about food allergies and anaphylaxis.

peanut-allergy-featured.jpgThe National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a division of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department’s National Institutes of Health, has suggested that food allergy be defined as an “adverse immune response that occurs reproducibly on exposure to a given food and is distinct from other adverse responses to food, such as food intolerance, pharmacologic reactions, and toxin-mediated reactions.”  This study found that this definition has not been universally adopted.

This study says that food allergies affect “more than 1 percent to 2 percent but less than 10 percent of the population.” The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network estimates that approximately 12 million people in the U.S. suffer from a food allergy. 

Research shows that it is unclear whether there has been a true increase in food allergies; 3.3 percent of US children had food allergies in 1997 as opposed to 3.9 percent in 2007–a statistically significant difference.  The study’s authors believe the reason for this increase could be due to the increased awareness and reporting rather than a true increase.

Neither type of test used in diagnosing food allergies–the common skin prick test or blood test–is a fool-proof method. According to the authors, “there are no well-accepted criteria for diagnosing food allergies.”

Researchers identified 25 studies of 7 food allergy management strategies including elimination diets, immunotherapy, food substitutions or alterations, diets in breastfeeding women, medical or pharmacological therapies, probiotics, and education.

The study done on elimination diets reported improvement in atopic dermatitis in patients on elimination diets compared with those who were not on elimination diets.

In immunotherapy, the immune response to allergen exposure is altered using protocols designed to administer increasing doses of the causative allergen over time.  According to this study, immunotherapy was somewhat effective for desensitization but tolerance and safety weren’t adequately evaluated.

Advocacy on behalf of the millions of individuals with food allergies is an important part of The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network’s (FAAN’s) mission. “We are hopeful that Congress will pass The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management Act in 2010. This crucial legislation would result in the creation of voluntary, national guidelines to help schools safely and effectively manage the growing number of students with a food allergy. Currently, the bill is co-sponsored by more than one-third of the U.S. Senate and nearly 100 members of the U.S. House of Representatives,” said Julia Bradsher, PhD, MBA, and CEO of FAAN.

Correction:  This article originally stated that food allergies affect approximately 12 million people worldwide.  The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network estimates that 12 million Americans suffer from a food allergy.

© Food Safety News
  • Nick C

    This study says that food allergies affect “more than 1 percent to 2 percent but less than 10 percent of the population.” This is about 12 million people worldwide.
    1% to 10%:
    6 Billion world pop = 60 million to 600 million
    300 million US = 3 million to 30 million

  • Stephen

    Take the FEAR Out of FOOD !
    Take ( FOOD & Inhalant ) ALLERGIES > Out of Your / Your Child’s Future.
    FOOD Allergy is ALL about How > YOUR Dr. “ Defines “ > What is a FOOD Allergy.
    Your Dr. may Only define FOOD Allergy as IgE .. and use Skin Testing.
    OR…
    Your Dr. may see FOOD Allergy as having TWO Types …
    > IgE Immediate i.e. Immediate i.e. Eat a Peanut = Trouble.
    > IgG / IgG4 Delayed i.e. Symptoms manifest as a function of the Digestive Process…. Which can Only be Measured via Blood.
    Most Importantly…
    Do NOT Discount IgE FOOD Allergy Blood Tests…
    > They provide Important Insight into the Identification and ” Degree” of Allergy to EACH offending Food.
    Think of these Scores as an ” Order of FOOD “Allergy” Magnitude ” > Providing your Dr and YOU with important information for further DIET Action.
    Sure ..
    A HIGH IgE Score against a FOOD should be taken seriously ..
    But often a “Blip” on the IgE FOOD Test Score > Does NOT translate to Eat a Peanut = Trouble !
    Often…
    Because DIET Control is the only way to address FOOD Allergies…
    Test Identified Allergy FOODs are taken out of your DIET and Re-Introduced on an Individual / Controlled basis to determine extent / if any FOOD Issues surface.
    But more Importantly…
    FOOD Allergy Blood Testing is paramount to Identifying Allergy Presence in INFANTs.
    For 1 in 3 INFANTs > Allergy to FOOD ( i.e. Cow Milk ) is the FIRST Allergy Manifestation of Allergy MARCH > A LifeTime sequence of multiple / predictable diseases as a result of Allergy Disease.
    ECZEMA > Allergy to FOOD i.e. Milk / Egg / Wheat > Is the first Allergy manifestation of Allergy MARCH in a INFANT.
    Allergy MARCH = Allergy Parents > Allergy INFANT / Birth > Eczema > G.I. > Ear > Respiratory > Rhinitis > Allergic ASTHMA ( Achoo & Ouch ! ).
    FAR to often… Allergy Parents bring their Allergy Child to the Physician citing Allergy Symptoms > but because Flu, Cold & Allergy Symptoms are so closely related > Physicians typically focus on Flu & Cold > “Prescribe” MED’s which ONLY mask Symptoms > Leaving Child’s Allergy Disease to Continue / Exacerbate UnAbated …
    Thus said…
    NOW > Pro-Active Allergy Parents of Allergy Children can order an At-Home, FDA Approved Finger Stick Allergy Blood Test Kit.
    The AllergyMarchTopTen.com > Allergy Test Kit / $ 45.00 > Will test your Child for the TOP TEN Allergens that signal the Presence / Emergence of Allergy MARCH in your Child.
    NOW > Given Your Child’s > FDA Approved AllergyMarchTopTen.com > Positive Allergy results > You and your Child’s Physician can move confidently forward with Insurance Covered, Expanded Geo-Regional Enviro Allergy Blood Testing.
    And Neutralization of Your Child’s TEST ID’ed Offending Allergens with Drug FREE / Self Administered > NaturesAllergyDrops.com > Think ImmunoTherapy SHOTs > Without the Ouch !
    STOPPING > Your Child’s Allergy MARCH Progression to Allergic ASTHMA > Producing the Health & Quality of Life Benefits that come with being Allergy FREE !
    Remember .. Today’s Allergy > Tomorrow’s (Allergic ) Asthma.
    While Allergic ASTHMA > Can NOT be Cured > It CAN be Prevented !
    Take ALLERGY > Out of YOUR Child’s Future !
    Best Health = Wealth

  • Thank you for your comment. We have corrected the story.
    Correction: This article originally stated that food allergies affect approximately 12 million people worldwide. The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network estimates that 12 million Americans suffer from a food allergy.

  • Thank you for your comment. We have corrected the story.
    Correction: This article originally stated that food allergies affect approximately 12 million people worldwide. The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network estimates that 12 million Americans suffer from a food allergy.

  • amy cloud

    My daughter has been dianosed with e.e. Her Dr. moved and his final dianosing after testing(skin & Blood) that it was environmental.When he left I was put with a new G.I and she said no it is most always food. Now she wants to do a new skin patch for her to wear a couple days. She didn’t have records from her allergist. My question is her blood IGE shows o.65/corn 1, H 0.59H 1, peanut 0.70 H 2, o.46 Crab 1. We removed Peanut from diet. So for a year thinking environmental she ha me doing this. My husband misdiagnosed acid reflux pains for years then had heart attack took his life . Is this necessary? She has nausea but seems to be improving. Can you explain to me why thereis a h next to some of these foods but classed at 1’s. What am I to do?
    iS THIS GOING TO