Food allergies are extremely common and seem to be more prevalent as time goes on. In fact, more than 107 foods are known to trigger allergic reactions.
According to the Food Allergy Research and Education website, the 8 major food allergens are: milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, and crustacean shellfish. Research suggests that around 32 million Americans have food allergies and about 40% of children with food allergies are allergic to more than one food.
Food allergies have increased by 50% in children between 1997 and 2011. There are many speculations as to why food allergies are on the rise, but the answers are still rather unclear. One idea suggests that because we’re in an era of globalization, people are exposed to and ingesting foreign diets and products. Other research suggests that allergy rates might have as much to do with the quantity and time frame of when a food is introduced to children as much as it is the food itself.
We also have a wider and broader understanding of food allergies and sensitivities, in addition to better ways to diagnose. This could also contribute to the increase in prevalence.
Food allergies are a quality of life issue. People with food allergies have to constantly be aware of and monitor what they’re eating and purchasing, even what they come in contact with. Previously, parents were told not to introduce certain foods into a child’s diet until a certain age to help prevent allergies. Now, experts recommend introduction to foods earlier rather than later.
The most important fact is that food allergies are life threatening, dangerous, and not going anywhere. In order to understand the causes and the treatment options, we need a better understanding and tolerance for people with food allergies. To do that, awareness is critical. For allergen awareness information, Always Food Safe has an online course that’s fun, interactive, and easy to access.