Vegetarian food processing is the most common type of food allergy in Australia and the World Health Organization (WHO) is warning people to avoid processing foods made with eggs, dairy, soy or wheat.
Read more “Allergies are more prevalent in adults, and we know that people with allergies are at greater risk for developing food allergies,” said Dr Paul Nottles from the Centre for Allergy and Immunology at the University of Queensland.
“The key to preventing food allergies is to monitor food consumption, and avoid processing food with eggs or other allergens.”
There are more than 800,000 people living with food allergies in Australia, according to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
Some people with food sensitivities have a higher than normal risk of developing an allergy, and can experience symptoms such as burning or itching.
Food allergy testing is also an important tool for people with a medical condition that affects their ability to eat.
“It helps us identify people with an allergy to certain foods,” Dr Notts said.
“We’re working on ways to improve the testing of these people, and also to improve their quality of life.”
For people with severe or chronic allergies, food allergy testing can be extremely expensive, so many people do not do it.
“You can spend thousands of dollars for a test,” Dr John Burdett, director of the Food Allergy Centre at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, said.
For example, Dr Burdetts said some patients have spent hundreds of dollars on their test.
“In the past few years we’ve had a few patients who’ve spent millions of dollars and they’ve had their test negative,” he said.
He said there were also people who spend tens of thousands of Australian dollars on testing, but were unable to afford it.
Food allergens are linked to asthma, allergies and obesity.
“People who have an allergy can develop asthma if they have certain allergens in their diet,” Dr Buddetts said.
The testing of people with specific food allergies can help determine which foods are most likely to trigger them, as well as identify potential triggers for specific food allergy symptoms.
“There’s no cure for food allergies, but we can identify which foods trigger the symptoms that are associated with allergies and develop treatments to reduce the risk of these food allergies.”
For more information, visit www.foodallergy.com.au/food-allergy-test.