The 'Allergy Song' by the Wiggles - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iciVDHQrRow 

(if you have a small child with food allergies this is a good song for them to listen to, to help with understanding and awareness of their condition).

 

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Food Allergies now occur in around 1 in 20 children, and around 1 in 100 adults. 

Has there been an increase in the number of people who have allergies? . . . Absolutely, considering that in 2004 it was reported that only around 1 in 50 children were affected by food allergies.

The good news is that there is now more awareness about food allergies, along with more advanced healthcare services, like allergy specialists and allergy testing centres. If you are considering being tested for an allergy, whether it be to food or another substance, you can google 'skin prick allergy testing centres' in your area and that will tell you where the closest testing centres are. It may take around 1hr appointment time to complete the test, and it can be quite expensive, but in a lot of cases it is worth it! Once you know exactly what your allergies are they are much easier to manage, and your overall health and wellbeing will certainly improve too.

For example some people are allergic or highly sensitive to cows milk, which can give them a rash, vomiting, diarrhoa or other reaction. But with a simple switch from cows milk to another type of milk, like Soy or Oat Milk, their health can dramatically improve with no more discomfort or sickness. Many doctors will recommend the elimination diet if you suspect you have a food allergy. Elimination Diets can sometimes be beneficial if you know that your allergy is only mild, and is isolated to one particular food. They can however be extremely complicated and time consuming, with possibly no clear result at the end. If you are considering going on an Elimination Diet for more than a few days I would recommend consulting your doctor or a dietician first. The reason I say this is because . . if you are taking a whole food group (such as dairy) out of your diet then you may need to find an alternative food to fill the nutritional gap in your diet.

There are several Smart Phone Apps available which will help you record your daily food intake, and track your progress, when on an elimination diet.

The benefit of knowing exactly what foods you are allergic to is that you can substitute that particular food with something else, which is equally nutritious. Because you don't want to deny your body of any essential vitamins and minerals it needs to keep functioning in a healthy manner. This is especially important for small children who are growing quickly and their bodies are needing lots of energy. If you are unsure of suitable food substitutes it might be worth visiting a Nutritionist. Otherwise, there is a lot of info on the web about healthy foods and food substitutes, so you should be able to find most of the info you need. Health Food Stores are a great source of information and allergy-friendly products too.  

Thank goodness there's now a whole aisle in most supermarkets dedicated to allergy-friendly health products! Brands like 'Freedom Foods', 'Orgran', and 'Well&Good' all have fantastic food ranges available. And if you go onto their website they have heaps of great recipes too!

 

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If you have a Baby or Child under 6yrs, and you suspect they have a serious Food Allergy, it's best to consult your doctor before doing a food 'reaction test' with them. Tell your doctor about the suspected allergy, and you can book an appointment in the doctors surgery to test your child with the food under medical supervision. This way the doctor will make sure they have Adrenalin Medication close-by, just in case your child does have a serious reaction needing medical attention. It only takes a few seconds for an allergic reaction to show up, and can be life threatening, so please don't try this at home!

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The majority of food allergies in children are not severe, and will disappear over time. The most likely foods to trigger an allergic reaction are Egg, Cow's milk, Peanuts and Tree nuts.  Less common triggers include Wheat, Soy, Sesame, Seafood and Fish. 

Symptoms of mild food allergy typically occur within 30 minutes of eating the food, and these symptoms can include;

  • hives (a very itchy rash over the skin),
  • swelling around the mouth,
  • vomiting,
  • a runny or blocked nose,
  • stomach pains,
  • diarrhoea.   

 

Some food allergies can be quite severe, causing life threatening reactions in the body known as Anaphylaxis. Peanuts, Tree nuts, Seeds and Shellfish are usually the major triggers for life long allergies.

Symptoms of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) can occur within seconds of eating the food. These severe reactions involve the breathing and circulatory systems, and may involve any of the following symptoms:

  • difficult/noisy breathing,
  • swelling of tongue,
  • swelling/tightness in throat,
  • difficulty talking/hoarse voice,
  • wheeze or persistent cough,
  • dizziness (loss of consciousness and/or collapse),
  • becoming pale and floppy in young children. 

If you do notice any of these symptoms in a person you should call an ambulance immediately. And if that person owns an Epipen (addrenalin injecting medication for severe food allergies) you should administer it immediately also.

Information about anaphylaxis is available on the ASCIA website.

 

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PEANUT ALLERGY

Peanuts are the most common cause of food anaphylaxis, across all age groups. Most allergic reactions to peanuts will occur by the age of 2, and are most often from exposure to peanut butter. Subsequent reactions can occur even if there are only 'traces' of peanuts in a food. Studies have shown that highly sensitized people can have an anaphylactic episode from even a tiny fragment of a peanut (as little as 1/2000th of a peanut). So it is certainly not something to be complacent about. Those that are known to be allergic to peanuts need to read every food label carefully before they purchase/eat something from the supermarket. Anything that is labelled with 'may contain traces of peanuts / nuts' is best to be avoided. And if you are out at a restaurant or cafe it is best to ask if the food is cooked with peanuts or not, just in case.

Restaurants - Thai food, asian food, and baked pastries pose the greatest threat to people with allergies to peanuts or other nuts. Some recipes contain nut products as unlisted ingredients, and they may be used to flavour salad dressings, satay sauce, or other toppings. Some cakes, biscuits or pastries can also have ground up nuts added. If you are going out for dinner with an allergic baby or child it is best to take a home cooked meal with you, and then order them some hot chips or something to go with their home cooked meal so that they don't feel like they're missing out.

Processed Foods from the Supermarket - Many of the processed, packaged food we buy from the supermarket can contain traces of peanuts / tree nuts. For example; biscuits, cakes, muesli bars, and cereal. Most of these products are manufactured in facilities that also make other foods containing real quantities of peanuts. This warning label is added because the manufacturer cannot guarantee that the ingredients haven't been contaminated along the production line.

Chocolate Products - as chocolate has been identified as one of the leading causes of anaphylactic reactions for those who are allergic to nuts or peanuts, you should be wary of any chocolate products you buy. This is because a lot of chocolate products have a high risk of contamination in production. Chocolate is an expensive product, one of which the manufacturers don't want to waste any of, so any chocolate that doesn't meet specific requirements on the production line will likely be reused; ground up / melted and used again for another product. . . . For example - with chocolate coated peanuts - if there are some that don't get coated properly they may be ground up and returned to the 'chocolate pile' for things like blocks of chocolate, chocolate bars, choc chips. There are not many 'nut-free' factories, but you can find specific 'nut-free' and even 'dairy-free' chocolate in supermarket health food aisles, or in your local health food store. Mrs Flannery's also has a good range of nut-free chocolates, lollies and other foods.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I've had first hand experience with this with my daughter, who is allergic to peanuts - I became a little complacent one day and purchased some muesli bars for her which carried the 'may contain traces of peanuts' label. I thought to myself 'it should be fine, I'm sure it won't affect her', thinking that the supplier was just being extra vigilent. But . . . that was a big mistake on my part, because 1/2 hour after giving the muesli bar to my daughter (of which she had only eaten half of) she began to act a little strange, and not herself. She appeared to be extremely tired, and couldn't keep her eyes open, her body had gone a bit limp and floppy, and then she began vomiting. And she vomited until she had nothing left in her stomach (her body was obviously rejecting the muesli bar). So I quickly gave her some anti-histamine and watched her closely until she had recovered, a few hours later. Luckily in this case I didn't need to administer her Epipen; it came close though, and it was certainly a scary experience for both of us. So please don't become complacent if you know you have a food allergy, sometimes it only takes a small 'trace' of the food to cause an allergic or anaphylactic reaction. 

It is also beneficial to know that even minor contact to the known allergen can actually 'boost' the immune response in some individuals (making their bodies even more sensitive to it long term), causing the next allergic reaction to possibly be worse.  

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Quick Tips to remember:

  • Always read the labels of every food item you purchase, as ingredients can change, and you might also be surprised at which foods may contain traces of the allergen
  • Remember that if you are allergic to Peanuts, you may also be allergic to other nuts, so take care with all nut products
  • If you are going to a party or function, make sure that you notify the hosts of your allergies so that they can cater for you individually and they can then avoid cross-contamination whilst they are preparing your food.
  • Try to carry a few snacks or food from home when you go out, so that you have a supply of safe 'allergen-free' food with you just in case you need it
  • And of course . . Always carry your Epipen with you wherever you go! Make sure that your carer/friend/colleague is aware of your allergies, and teach them how to administer the Epipen to you, should the need ever arise. The best way to do this is by having an Action Plan on display at your workplace, or if it is a child, it should be displayed at their school/kindy. It is displayed for easy reference for everyone to see so that if you ever had a serious allergic reaction, other people would know what to do without being in a panic. This is so important.
  • People with severe allergies should carry 2 x Epipens, because sometimes with anaphylactic reactions, if the first dosage doesn't bring the symptoms under control, an additional injection of the adrenaline is recommended.

 

 

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EGG ALLERGY

Egg is the most common food allergy in young children. Usually the allergy will subside by the time the child is around 3 years old. Egg allergy is also the most likely to present itself in the form of infantile eczema. The types of foods that cause reactions vary depending on the age of the child. First allergic reactions to egg are usually from baby custard or scrambled egg. In older children allergic reactions are usually after eating icecream or sorbet which contains egg white or partially cooked egg in the form of custard. Mayonnaise can also cause a mild allergic reaction.

 

Other Food Allergies Linked with Egg Allergy:

Since Egg Allergy is the most common food allergy it is possible that it is an isolated condition. However, an egg allergy reaction is also a good indication there may be food allergy tendencies, and warning that there is an increased risk of house Dust Mite Allergy and Asthma in the next few years. Children with a history of an egg allergy reaction should always be warned of the possibility that there is also a peanut or other nut allergy. Although the egg allergy is unlikely to cause too many serious reactions, the peanut allergy can have catastrophic consequences.

 

Vaccines / Immunisation:

Another thing to be mindful of is Vaccines. There are several types of medications that contain egg protein, and the most commonly used are vaccines, which are cultured in egg protein. If you have an egg allergy, talk to your doctor about which vaccines are safe for you. And if you are going to be immunized, your doctor should have your adrenalin (Epipen) readily available just in case of a severe reaction. Always tell your doctor about your egg allergy, as there may be other medications that you need to avoid also.

Symptoms of An Egg Allergic Reaction:

Egg allergy is very rare in adults, and quite often adults who do have an allergy will actually have a natural aversion to eating eggs. If they were to have any symptoms after eating eggs the symptoms would usually present themselves as;

  • Skin reactions, such as hives or eczema
  • Allergic conjunctivitis (itchy, red, watery eyes)
  • Gastrointestinal reactions, such as nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Airway symptoms, such as wheezing, coughing, or runny nose
  • Angioedema (swelling of lips, tongue, or face)

 

Most people with an egg allergy can tolerate small amounts of egg if it is a minor ingredient in a recipe, or if it is cooked into a cake or savoury dish. It is possible to be allergic to just egg white, just egg yolk, or both. It is not possible to completely separate an egg yolk and white at home.

Some people may develop an allergy to eggs after developing an allergy to Birds. This is called Bird-Egg Syndrome, and is most common when people have long-term exposure to birds, such as having parrots as pets. People with pet birds may develop a sensitivity to proteins in the bird's feathers, droppings, or dander that can cause the development of an allergy to eggs. It is more common in adult women than in men or children.

 

Egg Subtitutes in Cooking:

To figure out which egg substitute to use in your recipe, you need to think about the role that the egg is playing.  Is it center stage, as in scrambled eggs?  Is it binding the batter together, or leavening a dough?  Are the eggs even necessary?  If there is only one egg in your favourite pancake recipe, try just leaving it out. Chances are, you won’t even notice it is missing. 

For recipes that need a little more help sticking together, rising, or having a texture, here are six Egg Substitutes and how and when to use them:

1. Tofu

For each egg:  1/4 cup soft or silken tofu.

Why it works:  Straight out of the box, silken tofu has a custardy texture similar to cooked eggs. 

When to use it:  To replace eggs in recipes such as scrambled eggs, egg salad, or mayonnaise. 

Where to buy it:  In the Asian section of most grocery stores.  Silken tofu comes in shelf stable boxes.  Other forms of tofu are refrigerated and usually can be found in the dairy case.

 

2. Baking Powder, Water, and Oil

For each egg: Two teaspoons baking powder, two teaspoons water, and one tablespoon canola oil.  Some recipes will tell you to mix these ingredients together before adding them to your batter.  I find that the baking powder loses its punch when added in this step.  Add the extra baking powder to your dry ingredients, and add the water & oil to your wet ingredients for maximum lift.

Why it works:  Baking powder replaces the leavening provided by the egg,  Water and oil replace liquid and fat that the egg provides.

When to use it:  Baked goods such as pancakes or muffins that have a light, fluffy texture.  Does not work well for recipes that have more than one or two eggs.

Where to buy it:  Supermarket.

 

3. Flax Seed Gel

For each egg: 2 Tablespoon ground flax seeds plus 3 tablespoons water.  Wisk together.  Allow to stand for a few minutes until it forms a gel.

Why it works: Flax seeds are high in protein and fat, which act as binders.

When to use it:  Whole grain baked goods, such as bran or corn muffins, that can hold their own with the nutty taste of flax.

Where to buy it:  Health food store, some supermarkets, or online.

 

4. Fruit Purees

For each egg: 3 tablespoons of applesauce, mashed banana, or pumpkin puree.  Add an extra ½ teaspoon of baking powder to the recipe to keep it from being too heavy and an extra teaspoon of oil or butter to preserve the texture of the original recipe.

Why it works: The pectin from the fruit acts similarly to fat, holding the air bubbles in the batter.

When to use it:  In muffins, coffee cakes, or other moist, dense baked goods.

Where to buy it:  Supermarket.

 

5. Acid + Base

For each egg: Baking soda plus vinegar, buttermilk, or lemon juice.  The exact ratio requires some experimentation with each recipe, but there are lots of traditional recipes out there that are already perfected.

Why it works: The chemical reaction of the acidic liquid and the basic baking soda produces gas bubbles that leaven the dough.

When to use it:  Baked goods such as cake or biscuits that have a light fluffy texture.

Where to buy it: Supermarket.

 

6. Chickpea Flour

For each egg: 3 tablespoons chickpea flour plus 3 tablespoons water

Why it works: Chickpea flour is high in protein and acts as a binder.

When to use it:  When cooked, chickpea flour has a custardy texture that makes it perfect for French toast, tempura batter, or even frittatas.

Where to buy it:  Health food store, Indian grocery store, or gluten-free section of supermarket.

 

 

 Foods That May Contain Eggs:

  1. Custards
  2. Meringues or Pavlova
  3. Macaroons
  4. Mayonnaise
  5. Sauces (eg. Bearnaise sauce or Tartar sauce)
  6. Quiche, spinach pie
  7. Egg in salads (eg. Chicken Caesar salad)
  8. Cakes, pastries, sweet breads
  9. Pre-crumbed food (eg. Fish, Chicken Schnitzel)
  10. Sausages
  11. Ice cream, Sorbet
  12. Spaghetti, soups, noodles
  13. Salad dressings
  14. Biscuits
  15. Confectionary or marshmallows
  16. Clear soups (egg white is used to get rid of particles that cause cloudiness)
  17. the same applies for some White Wines

The best way to avoid an allergic reaction is to check EVERY food label carefully, to make sure that there is no egg or 'traces of egg' in the product.

Note: Some commercial “egg substitutes” actually contain traces of eggs, and are not safe for people with severe egg allergies. 

 

 

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MILK ALLERGY

Cow's milk is a common cause of food allergy in infants. In Australia and New Zealand around 1 in 50 babies are allergic to cow's milk and dairy products. Although most children outgrow cow's milk allergy by the age of 4 years, persistent cow's milk allergy may sometimes occur. However, ongoing symptoms in adults are very rare. Allergic Reactions can occur within minutes, or even up to several days after consuming cows milk, or other dairy products.

If your child does have milk allergy, these symptoms may occur:

* Within minutes, or up to 1 hour after having a small amount of cow's milk - symptoms may include hives (urticaria), eczema, face swelling, vomiting, diarrhoea, noisy breathing or wheeze. Severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) may cause floppiness in babies.

* Several hours after having moderate amounts of cow's milk - symptoms can include vomiting and diarrhoea and sometimes blotchy rashes or worsening eczema.

* After a day or up to several days after having normal amounts of cow's milk - symptoms can include eczema, vomiting, diarrhoea or asthma.

 

Reliable Diagnosis:

In people with immediate allergic reactions to milk, diagnosis is usually obvious. This can be confirmed by your doctor using allergy tests (skin prick tests or blood allergen specific IgE [RAST] tests).

There is no place in the diagnosis of milk allergy for unproven tests such as Vega, kinesiology, Alcat or allergy elimination tests.

When symptoms occur several hours or days after having milk, diagnosis of cow's milk allergy is usually not as obvious and allergy tests are often not useful in these cases. Confirmation of the diagnosis usually requires a referral to a medical specialist (Allergist/Clinical Immunologist).

 

Food Avoidances:

Treatment of cow's milk allergy involves elimination of cow's milk and its products from the diet and substitution with an appropriate formula in babies. However, avoiding dairy products in children is not easy. Most children allergic to cow's milk will be allergic to goat's milk, so products made from goat's milk are not only inadequate substitutes, but usually trigger similar symptoms. It is therefore important to read all labels of prepared foods and avoid any food which contains cow's or goat's milk, cheese, butter, ghee, butter milk cream, cream fraiche, milk powder, whey, casein, caseinate and margarines which contain milk products.

It is important to note that elimination and reintroduction of cow's milk and dairy products should only be undertaken with advice from a medical specialist, particularly in cases with severe symptoms. Elimination of cow's milk entirely from the diet is usually difficult and needs to be done in consultation with a specialist dietitian. If long term exclusion is required, patients require an alternative source of calcium and protein, and advice from a dietitian should be sought. This applies to the affected child, and to their mother if dietary exclusion during breast feeding is required.  After confirming cow's milk allergy, your doctor will usually recommend replacing dairy products with alternative formulae, which may include:

  1. Soy protein formula
    Around 50 to 80 per cent of children with cow's milk allergy can tolerate soy based formulae. However, in children allergic to soy as well, it is not a suitable substitute.
  2. Extensively hydrolyzed formula (EHF)
    This is cow's milk based formula that has been treated with enzymes to break down most of the proteins that cause symptoms in infants who are allergic to cow's milk (brands inlcude Alfare and Pepti-Junior). These are usually supplements of first choice in milk allergic children. However, since some children will still react to this formula, sometimes an amino acid based formula is advised. Extensively hydrolyzed formula is different to partially hydrolyzed formula and the latter is not suitable for treatment of milk allergic children.
  3. Amino acid based formula
    This formula is necessary in around 10 per cent of children with cow's milk allergy (brands include Neocate, Elecare). This formula will be tolerated by almost all children with soy or cow's milk allergies.

Children allergic to cow's milk are usually allergic to a number of proteins present in dairy products. Since similar proteins are present in other animal milks such as goat milk and horse milk, these products can also trigger allergic reactions, and should be avoided. "A2 milk" (from specially bred cows) is claimed to have a number of health promoting properties, but is also unsuitable for cow's milk allergic children. Partially enzyme treated cow's milk formula such as Nan-HA may be used to help prevent infants from developing allergies but they are not suitable to be used as treatment for cow's milk allergic children.

Possible Milk Substitutes:

  • Soy Milk
  • Oat Milk
  • Rice Milk
  • Goats Milk (just be careful with goats milk as many people who can't tolerate cow's milk, also can't tolerate goats milk)
  • Almond Milk (not recommended for babies or children in case of nut allergies)

 

Margarine Substitutes:

  • Nuttelex

 

Cheese Substitutes:

  • Goats Cheese / Fetta
  • Sheeps Milk Cheese - available in a tub in the supermarket specialty cheese section

 

 

Other Food Allergies?

Cow's milk allergy may occur together with other food allergies such as egg, soy, peanut or other nuts. This is referred to as multiple food allergy. Confirmation of this usually requires a referral to a medical specialist (Allergist / Clinical Immunologist).

Around 80 per cent of babies will grow out of their allergy by the age of 4 years. Assessment of this likelihood and reintroduction of dairy products should be done in association with a medical specialist. Depending on the history and severity of the original reactions, this may require further allergy testing and deliberate food challenge, which is usually performed in a hospital setting.

 

Not All Reactions to Milk Are Due to Allergy:

Lactose intolerance is caused by the lack of the enzyme lactase, which helps to digest the milk sugar lactose. The symptoms are diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach pain and gas, which are similar to some of the symptoms of milk allergy. This condition is uncomfortable but not dangerous, and does not cause rashes or anaphylaxis. Small amounts of cow's milk are usually tolerated, and yogurts and hard cheeses are usually tolerated better than milk, as they contain less or easier to digest lactose than cow's milk. Skin or blood allergy tests are negative, but if necessary the diagnosis can be confirmed by a breath hydrogen test. Treatment may involve reducing or avoiding consumption of dairy products containing lactose and substituting these with a lactose free formula or milk.

 

Milk & Mucus:

Respiratory allergy (such as asthma and allergic rhinitis/hay fever) is normally triggered by what we inhale, rather than what we eat. Some people complain that they have a short-lived sensation of thick mucus in the throat after drinking milk. This feeling poses no risk and is not an allergic reaction. Indeed in very young infants, runny noses are most commonly due to infection. If you wish to avoid it, however, you should still ensure a nutritionally adequate intake of calcium by selecting suitable substitutes. Consult your doctor or a dietitian if unsure.

 

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SEAFOOD ALLERGY

A seafood allergy is an adverse reaction by the body's immune system to seafood or food containing seafood. Whilst fish is easier to avoid in your diet than many other allergens, fish allergies can be one of the most severe and life threatening. Anyone with a fish allergy should carry medication prescribed by their doctor at all times. 

The specific symptoms can vary considerably amongst patients, from a severe anaphylactic reaction to asthma, abdominal symptoms, eczema or headaches.

The large variety of symptoms that can arise from a seafood allergy, include;

  • Runny nose
  • Sore eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Cough
  • Hives
  • Asthma
  • Lip swelling
  • Itching
  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing
  • Breathing problems
  • Constipation
  • Skin flushing
  • Swallowing problems
  • Eczema
  • Tongue swelling
  • Hoarseness
  • Throat swelling
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Sinus pain
  • Itchy mouth
  • Tingling mouth
  • Facial redness
  • Facial swelling
  • Abdominal pain
  • Low blood pressure
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Light headedness

 

 Fish > Seafood Allergy _ Cross-Reactivity:

People with allergies to one type of fish are likely to have, or at some stage develop, allergies to other fish / seafood. This is called cross-reactivity. The reason for cross-reactivity is a protein that is present in many fish called 'parvalbumin'. It is for this reason that most people with an allergy to one type of fish are advised to avoid all fish, includind eel and shark. Some types of fish, like Tuna and Mackerel, are considered to be less allergenic than others. If you have allergies and are wondering what types of fish are likely to be safe in your diet, speak to an allergist to arrange a specific 'seafood/fish' related allergy test.

 

Foods that may contain Seafood:

  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Ceviche (fish or shellfish "cooked" in an acidic citrus marinade)
  • Caviar
  • Gelatin
  • Cioppino
  • Thai fish sauce
  • Bouillabaisse
  • Fumet (fish stock)
  • Surimi
  • Pissaladière
  • Omega-3 supplements (if you would like to take these, look for vegan varieties made from flaxseed or other plant-derived oils)
  • Caponata

 

The major challenges with fish allergies is avoiding high-risk situations for contact with fish, and managing the risk of severe asthma (where applicable) and anaphylaxis. Reading labels for fish is reasonably simple in grocery stores. Communication in restaurants, however, is vital; higher-end restaurants may use small amounts of fish to flavor dishes that may not indicate the presence of fish on the menu. If you are eating out, you should always make the wait staff aware of your allergy, and get them to ask the chef exactly what is in the dish.

There are recorded instances of inhalation reactions due to aerosolized fish proteins, so people with fish allergies should avoid hibachi-style communal grill restaurants if fish is on the menu.

Seafood restaurants and Sushi bars are high risks for cross-contamination due to the close proximity of fish and non-fish items. Another source of potential cross-contamination is frying oil; if fish has been fried in oil, people with fish allergies should avoid eating any other food fried in the same oil.

 

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Buying Organic Food

 

CHEMICALS IN FRUIT & VEGES . . .

While stocking the pantry with all-organic food is ideal, unfortunately this isn’t feasible for some families. So what fruit and veg should you absolutely try to buy organic?

Research from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has analysed pesticide residue on fruit and vegetables to determine which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticide residues and are the most important to buy organic. If you can’t buy all organic all of the time, here is a list of fruit and vegetables dubbed “The Dirty Dozen Plus”, found to have the highest levels of pesticides:

Apples
Celery
Capsicum
Peaches
Strawberries
Nectarines
Grapes
Spinach
Lettuce
Cucumber
Blueberries
Potatoes
Kale/Collard
Green Beans

When conventionally grown, these fruits and vegetables tested positive for at least 47 different chemicals.By buying these fruits and vegetables organic you can significantly lower your pesticide intake. Eating produce without pesticides may help reduce your risk of getting cancer and other diseases.