Both the presence and awareness of food allergies continues to rise. So, every May we celebrate Food Allergy Awareness Week to increase knowledge around this topic. Here are 5 interesting facts about food allergies.
1 – There are an estimated 32 million Americans living with food allergies.
That’s 1 in 10 adults and 1 in 13 children. Each year about 200,000 people require emergency care due to an allergic reaction to foods. Food allergy reactions are serious and can be life-threatening. Because there is no medication to prevent or cure a food allergy, strict avoidance of the food in required for food allergic individuals.
2 – Next year, January 2023, sesame will officially be recognized as a top allergen in the US.
It’s estimated that over 1.6 million Americans are allergic to sesame. That’s why a new law called the FASTER ACT was recently passed requiring sesame to be listed on food labels, along with the other “top 8” allergens including milk, wheat, soy, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts and tree nuts.
3 – There is no cure for food allergies.
And unlike seasonal allergies, there are aren’t any medications to prevent an allergic reaction to food. The only way to prevent a reaction is 100% avoidance of that food. The best way to ensure this is to:
- Learn how to read food labels and identify where allergen/s are listed.
- Don’t be afraid to ask about recipes, ingredients, and cooking procedures when eating out.
4 – Did you know that about 60% of people with a shellfish allergy experience their first reaction as adults?
It’s true. People with allergies aren’t always “born” with them. They can happen to anyone at any point in life, though people with a family history of food allergies are at higher risk. Because you never know when someone is going to have their first food allergic reaction, it’s helpful to be able to identify the symptoms so you can get them the help they need.
5 – Even if you don’t have a food allergy, you can support those who do.
People with food allergies would really appreciate it if we could all:
- Take food allergies seriously.
- Be an advocate alongside them.
- Help create a safe space to prevent reactions which may include:
- Preventing cross-contact
- Getting creative with celebrations – perhaps recommend nonfood related activities
- Encouraging frequent hand washing
- Take action and get help immediately if you see someone starting to show symptoms.
At Compass Group, we are committed to the safety of our guests. As such, we were the first in the industry to have our allergen management training courses reviewed and certified by Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) through its groundbreaking FARECheck program. FARE is the leading patient advocacy organization serving the food allergy community and the world’s largest private funder of food allergy research. Our comprehensive training program meets all of FARE’s core tenets for responsible food handling and preparation as they relate to allergens and anaphylaxis. This partnership ensures our training programs remain aligned with the latest advancements in food allergen management.