Understanding my topic

Over the last few weeks, I have researched my topic of ‘food allergies’ to understand it more, ensuring that I portray it correctly. One thing I found particularly interesting is the difference between food intolerance and a food allergy.

Food intolerance is when your body cannot digest a certain type of food. For example, lactose intolerance. If a person suffering with food intolerance was to ingest food with a ‘lactose’ property within it, their digestive system would almost have ‘an internal struggle’. This is often not as serious as the repercussions of a food allergy, and symptoms would involve constipation, diarrhea  and other ‘bodily fluids’. Food allergies is when your immune system reacts to a type of food. The symptoms of this would include examples of; rashes, swelling, hives etc. The problem is not that the food cannot be digested, but more so that your body reacts against it.

Allergy UK believe that food allergies are on the rise, and affecting more people than ever: “The latest surveys show that the rates of allergy are increasing throughout the world, affecting up to 30-35% of people at some stage in their lives… In the UK, it is estimated that up to 50 per cent of children are diagnosed with an allergic condition.”

There are several possible explanations for the rise such as genetics, environmental factors, changes in the food we eat etc. The genetic explanation is the most plausible and uses scientific fact to state that the more food allergens have risen throughout the years, the more chance there is for a parent to pass on a food allergy to a child. Allergy UK have said:

” In the UK today, children have a one in five predisposition to develop an allergy. However, the risk is doubled if one parent has an allergy (particularly if that parent is the mother). If both parents have allergies, the risk is increased to 60-80 per cent.”

I will need to use this information to shape my project. However, I would like to keep the project on a very personal, human-interest angle. Therefore, I plan to write an introduction to my project (200-300 words) which describes food allergies and intolerance’s (similar to the above) and that they are rising. It has been difficult to find a first-hand account of food allergies, but one I particularly enjoyed was by a blogger Stephen Fratello.

There are 14 food allergens that must always be labelled on pre-packed food when used. They are:

Foods that need to be labelled on pre-packed and non pre-packaged foods when used as ingredients are:

  • Cereals containing gluten, namely: wheat (such as spelt and Khorasan wheat), rye, barley, oats
  • Crustaceans for example prawns, crabs, lobster, crayfish
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Peanuts
  • Soybeans
  • Milk
  • Nuts; namely almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, pecan nuts, Brazil nuts, pistachio nuts, macadamia (or Queensland) nuts
  • Celery (including celeriac)
  • Mustard
  • Sesame
  • Sulphur dioxide/sulphites, where added and at a level above 10mg/kg in the finished product. This can be used as a preservative in dried fruit
  • Lupin which includes lupin seeds and flour and can be found in types of bread, pastries and pasta
  • Molluscs like clams, mussels, whelks, oysters, snails and squid

From this researchl, but dependant on sources, I would like to use in my project:

  • Gluten
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and peanuts (as one)
  • Crustaceans and molluscs (as one)

 

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