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Jan 8, 2014 09:54 AM

The Food Allergy Epidemic

As I've posted elsewhere on these boards, a recent guest from Singapore commented on the "unusual" prevalence of food allergies among her classmates at an Eastern college she attended as an exchange student in the fall. In a country of five million people, the incidence of these allergies is virtually unknown there.

Here's a report that offers a highly likely explanation for food and other allergies among the US population.

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  1. Not surprising at all. The entire EU, Australia, Japan, the UK, Russia, China and India all require labeling - why the hell don't we?

    "European law dictates that any food containing more than 0.9% genetically engineered ingredients be labeled as containing GMOs. It’s a freedom to choose. Clean food is a right that should be afforded to all Americans, not just those who can afford to opt out and purchase foods labeled “non-GMO” or “USDA Organic”."

    And that is what most people want - the freedom to choose. It's insane that it's not. It's way past time to give us this choice. There's no need for all this extra crap to be in our food supply. These allergies weren't anywhere near as prevalent one and two generations ago, and virtually non-existent further back.

    1. I've had some very heated discussions on CH about this issue. Most of them became heated bc they were very unkind words written by others about what to do with my allergic child, like "you should homeschool him" type of sentiments.

      Anyway, I truly like Robyn O'Brien's work and pretty much agree with her in all her POV's. However, I do think it's an alignment of stars to produce the allergic child. My husband was allergic to dairy when he was a baby. I'm allergic to pit fruit and japanese mountain yam which isn't really eaten in this country. my mother is allergic to shellfish and soy (pure soy like edamame but not shoyu). So I do think it's part hereditary combined with GMO consumption. As I was pregnant I don't think I consumed much GMO's as I'm a farmers market/Whole Foods type of person. However, I did shoot up Insulin 3-4 times a day due to gestational Diabetes. I found out later during some research that GMO's can be in insulin. I was part of a allergy mom group back in my old home town and 3/4 of us had gestational diabetes. However, how do you explain the neighbor who only eats packaged mac and cheese and McDonalds types of food to produce a human with no food allergies? And those with GD who produce kids with no allergies? Again, it's how all of it aligns and comes together.

      People say it's bc we live in such a antibacterial society and we no longer live on farms. Well, I just started using those sanitizers recently and how do you explain the millions of people with no allergies who never lived on farms? oh, and I did eat nuts while pregnant as well.

      The good part of all this is that I now have no choice but to feed my son pure foods. tonight was beef bourguignon with rice and salad. I don't take shortcuts and make sure the beef, rice, wine etc is all organic etc. We don't do cake mixes and get much takeout. He's outgrown soy, dairy, egg, almonds, walnut, pecan, hazelnuts which is a giant relief for his sake.

      They do need to start labeling for GMO's. We moved to Boulder, CO where there is an independent store called Alfalfa's that labels for possible GMO's. It would be great to see others do the same.

      3 Replies
      1. re: trolley

        I agree, Trolley, It's very complicated and different for everyone. Given what you have had to deal with, I think you have a pretty good attitude and your boy is very lucky that you "get it."

        Given the huge leap in food allergies in the last five years, it is hard to deny that something is going on. I don't know if I buy the hygiene hypothesis or eating peanuts while you're pregnant, but I do know that peanut oil is a carrier in childhood vaccines and there has been a lot of research done on linking all these factors together.

        The pre-emptive move by the Grocery Manufacturers to lobby for a weak labeling law will probably pass in some form. It will grandfather in a lot of undesirable additives and will invalidate any individual state's labeling law, but it is a start. People are beginning to wake up to the enormous control these agri chemical companies have over our health and our lives. The best we can do is what you're doing. Try to purchase or grow as many raw materials as is possible and try to keep your contamination to a minimum.

        1. re: sandiasingh

          well, the vaccine thing...then why doesn't every kid who gets the vaccine develop a peanut allergy? the same idea as the germ thing. and again it's the stars that align. not everyone will develop this as I do think it's part genetics and part GMO's. I always belong to some kind of support group bc the hate that we receive is everywhere. I know it's hard to believe, bc i would never expect anyone to hate others for their disabilities. but people feel very strongly about their rights to eat nuts in America. I recently was introduced to a mom and when she found out my child had food allergies she became very hostile. you should see the internet comments on "allergy" articles. I've also been piled on here on CH so i'm very shy now to discuss it amongst "non allergy" groups.

          1. re: trolley

            I would send the hostile mom this article. It is not a judgment call to be made. Our bodies are rejecting the industrial food products that we have always thought to be safe or within reason, but that's when the FDA and the USDA worked efficiently. They no longer do. We're on our own here and have to either educate ourselves or go merrily along our way whistling in the dark.

            Some people are born with genes that provide life long health and others of us are canaries in the coal mine.

            Sorry to hear our fellow CHers have been tough on this issue, but not too surprised. I posted some GMO articles a couple of years ago and was either lambasted or ignored, so I opted out. I am no longer interested in debating the issue. I know too much.

            Unless you have walked in someone else's shoes, it's easy to throw stones (how's that for a mixed metaphor?) :-)

      2. There is, however, a big difference between prevalence and incidence. Most doctors agree that apparent prevalence has risen because of better diagnostic tools and increased awareness of allergies in the medical community. In other words, allergies are being diagnosed more frequently. That is not proof that the actual incidence (rate of occurence compared to births) has risen. Not proof the other way either, but just sayin' ... these loose "correlations" that people with agendas make are not proof one way or the other.

        1. EU membership may have led to allergy increase in rural Poland

          less contact with farm animals is suspected.

          More on that rural/urban allergy thesis

          Interesting map - why are allergy rates higher in Florida and Georgia, and lower in North Dakota and Montana?

          1 Reply
          1. re: paulj

            Funny! :) The rural/urban thing is interesting. I grew up on a farm and one of my 3 siblings (1 out of 4) was allergic to sawdust and animal dander. He is now grown with kids and manages the farm, the allergies long forgotten.

            And in my personal experience, the majority of people I know who have allergies are urban folk, with very limited or no contact with animals, dirt, untreated wood products, natural water sources (creeks, rivers, ponds, standing rain water, etc) and so on.