Is the world becoming more allergic to food?

Leah Panapa 10/12/2021

LISTEN: Children around the world are incredibly developing food allergies, more than ever before.

The rise in allergies has been particularly noticeable in the West and developed countries in recent years.

In the UK, statistics show that food allergy now affects about 7 percent of children. In Australia, it affects 9 percent.

Some allergies can even be life-threatening.

Auckland University professor of nutrition and dietetics Dr Clare Wall says the world is becoming more allergic to food.

“The data we have from around the world suggests that the presence of food allergies is certainly increasing,” she told Magic Talk.

Dr Wall says there is “a lot of confusion” about the difference between a food allergy and food intolerance.

“From a technical point of view a food allergy is something that is when you eat a food, and it’s usually something that contains protein, your body mounts an immune reaction against that protein. It recognises it and it doesn’t like it,” she said.

Every time you eat that food you get the same reaction.

In some cases that reaction can be quite severe, Dr Wall told Magic Talk.

However, food intolerance is not caused by an immune reaction.

“It’s usually a substance in the food which doesn’t quite agree with you.”

Listen to the full interview with Dr Clare Wall above.

Magic Talk | Mornings with Leah Panapa, weekdays from 9am

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