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Current Position:Home » News » Recalls & Alerts » Alerts & Food Safety » Topic

How Many U.S. Children Suffer From Food Allergies?

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2018-11-27  Views: 3
Core Tip: A new report published in the journal Pediatrics finds that almost 8% of children living in the United States have food allergies.
A new report published in the journal Pediatrics finds that almost 8% of children living in the United States have food allergies. That condition can be life-threatening and is a major public health concern. The recalls we tell you about are often for food allergens.

A survey was administered to U.S. households in 2015 and 2016, looking for responses for 38,408 children. The overall estimated current food allergy prevalence is 7.6%. The most prevalent allergies were peanut, at 2.2%, affecting about 1.6 million kids; milk at 1.9%, affecting about 1.4 million children; shellfish at 1.3%, affecting about 1 million children; and tree nut (1.2%), affecting about 900,000 kids.

Among those children, 42.3% had severe food allergies, and 39.9% reported multiple allergies. About 19% of those kids had to visit an emergency room in the previous year, and 42% reported at least 1 lifetime food allergy-related emergency room visit. About 40% of the kids had a current epinephrine auto injector prescription such as an EpiPen.

Parents, however, reported that 11.4% of children were allergic to food, which indicates that more patients should have access to doctors who are trained in the accurate diagnosis of food allergies. Reactions to food may be intolerances, not true allergies.

“All parents of children with food allergies should be prepared with an action plan,” author Dr. Ruchi Gupta, who is professor pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, told Food Navigator.

Undeclared allergens are the leading cause of recalls issued by the FDA. Any food that is regulated by the FDA is required by federal law to have labeling that identifies food allergens.

There are eight major categories of food allergens: egg, wheat, milk, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, fish, and soy. Some of these foods are not properly labeled because the manufacture changes ingredient, because of labeling errors, or changes in computerization.

Scientists at the FDA are developing new allergen tests and also are trying to use mass spectrometry to analyze a food for allergens. Peanut allergies are usually the most serious, and can cause anaphylactic shock.




 
 
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